Pet Theft: How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Spot a Dog Thief?

Last Updated on March, 2023

Have you ever had hair-raising experiences where your dog’s safety was almost compromised when walking outside or at home? With a boom in dog theft during the pandemic, there is nothing more painful for pet lovers than the fear of losing a beloved pet.

You must be wondering why thieves kidnap dogs. Are some breeds more likely to be a target than others?

YES, that appears to be the case.

No one wants to wake up one day and find their furball missing. Therefore, this article will go through the breeds most reported to be stolen and ways to prevent dog theft.

Quick Summary

Dog theft is on the rise, and some breeds are more likely to be targeted than others.

There are some things you can do to help protect your dog from thieves, such as microchipping, using a GPS collar, and training your dog to bark when strangers approach.

Be vigilant of suspicious behavior when you are out with your dog, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Why are Dogs Kidnapped?

a dog inside the dark room

The short answer is for profit. However, dognapping can be a bit more complex sometimes. In rare cases, dog kidnappers are children or teenagers who want a pet but don’t have the money to buy one. (1)

On the gruesome end of the spectrum, canines are kidnapped for their fur, meat, or other sadistic purposes. Nevertheless, most dognappers are adults who want to make a quick buck by selling it for a high price. 

Tips to Protect Your Pet Against Dog Thieves

Dog theft can happen at any time or anywhere. The phrase “prevention is better than cure” is widely used for a reason. Here are a few general tips to keep your dog safe at home or outdoors.

  • From the time they are a pup, train your pet to start barking when strangers grab them.
  • Have your pups collared with a tag, and keep them indoors whenever you go out.
  • Neuter your pet so they will not stray.

Dog Breeds Most Likely to Be Stolen

some Dog Breeds of Most Likely to Be Stolen

The American Kennel Club has listed the 10 dog breeds typically stolen. This article will go through five of the most popular dog breeds and why they are a likely target compared to other dogs.

Popular Dog Breeds

French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs top the list for most stolen dogs due to their high demand. As a highly valued canine due to its trendy presence, the french bulldog is preyed on explicitly.

You must have heard the news of Lady Gaga’s stolen french bulldog; with such rich and famous owners, it’s no surprise they are stolen to sell for high profits.

German Shepherd

Surprised how such big dogs can be on this list? Although german shepherds are good guard dogs and much harder to lure, they can be stolen as puppies.

Since the german shepherd takes the no.3 spot in the American Kennel Club’s popular breed rankings, they fetch a high price when sold. 

These loving family pets have a cute and energetic nature as pups, so owners must be vigilant when going out with them.

Labrador Retriever

Consistently topping the list for the most popular breed, it’s no stunner these highly energetic dogs are dognapped. Labrador retrievers are beloved by almost everyone, and their sweet temperament makes it easy for dognappers to gain their trust. 

Owners should always search for a reputable breeder when buying a labrador retriever pup since the likelihood of them being stolen are pretty high.

Siberian Husky

With a wolf-like appearance and icy blue eyes, why wouldn’t a Siberian husky be on this list? These beautiful canines are expensive to buy and have great affection for their owners despite their tough exteriors. This breed of dog is typically stolen due to its friendly nature towards strangers.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the small size breeds on the list and is currently rising to be no. 2 in theft behind bulldogs.

Yorkies are cute, compact size lap dogs known for their hypoallergenic coat and sunny personality. 

This combination makes it easy to bait dogs like this right into the thief’s trap. Although small dogs can be pretty feisty, they are easy to steal because of their tiny size. Besides yorkies, shih tzu and chihuahua are likely targets.

Yorkshire Terrier sitting on the chair

Checkout the 10 Most Commonly Stolen Dog Breeds

At Home

Sadly, your canine might not be safe even in its own home. No matter how high the boundary walls are, if the dognapper has the speed and strength of a hulk, fences will ultimately be dud. Here are two devices you can use to keep your dog safe

  • Security Alarm

A sound investment for your house, not just for dognapping but generally, is a security alarm system, so you have evidence to show the police. The best security systems have video monitoring and door/window sensors. There are two ways you can set up the system.

  1. If you have a small dog mostly kept indoors, install cameras and sensors inside the house around regions most likely for a thief to enter.
  2. For a medium to large dog kept outside, install cameras outdoors. If your pet is kept in a cage or a closed dog house, set up motion detectors at least 4-5ft high close to the dog cage.
  • GPS Dog Collars

Invisible fences are also a sound option. You will be alerted once your dog is removed from the boundary area. Since most invisible fence collars have a tracking device, it will aid you in finding your pet faster. 

While On Walks Outside

It would be best never to leave your dog unattended when out with it. Nevertheless, having your dog wear a GPS DOG COLLAR while out can help you find your dog if your canine is kidnapped. 

Pet Microchips

But what if the dognapper removes the collar? Another alternative is getting your dog chipped. A dog microchip is a radio frequency identification device that is injected under the skin of your dog’s shoulder.

You will then need to register all your personal and chip identifier details with the pet recovery database that veterinarians or shelters can scan.

Related articles:

Signs to Spot a Dog Thief

a thief
  • Be vigilant of suspicious behavior in dog parks, especially if there are reports of dog nappings in your region.
  • Check to see any unknown markings around your yard or dog house. This mark could indicate that your house is a target.
  • Never give detailed information about your pet if someone stops you at a park.

Worth reading: How to track my stolen dog?


Dog thieves often use treats to lure dogs out of their home or yard. They may also target smaller breeds such as chihuahuas, which are easier to grab and run with.

If your dog is stolen, alert your neighborhood and call the police. Do not attempt to search for or pursue the thief alone, as this could put both you and your dog in danger if they are armed.

French bulldogs are the most stolen breed due to their high popularity and value, as well as their small size which makes them an attractive target for pet theft.

Approximately two million dogs are stolen each year in the United States.

Dog Flipping is the practice of taking a dog away from its owner and selling it for profit, and also refers to people who falsely claim to be the dog’s owner or obtain dogs from shelters for resale.

To prevent puppy thefts, train puppies to come back when called, and follow additional safety tips.


Great, you made it to the end! I know this is a heartbreaking topic, but the safer you keep your pet, the less likely it is for them to get stolen. Dog thieves are cunning.

They target family pets when left unattended or when you least expect it. Always be aware of your surroundings outside and at home, especially if you own any of the popular breeds mentioned.

The best way to keep your best friend safe is to get them microchipped or an invisible fence with a highly sensitive GPS collar. What most people need to understand is that microchips do not have GPS. 

Therefore, it might take months or even years to find missing pets. With invisible fences, you are immediately notified if the dog has left your boundaries, making it easy to track them down. If you like to know more about the best invisible dog fences the market has to offer, take a look here.

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Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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