We all know the cliché about the UK being a nation of dog lovers, and it's backed up by statistics. The RSPCA found last year there are 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK, with nearly a quarter of households owning one. However, it seems that are our favourite breed is rapidly changing. The Kennel Club has predicted that by the end of 2018, the French Bulldog will be the UK's most popular dog breed, replacing the Labrador Retriever in the top spot after 27 years. The French Bulldog, familiar from celebrity Instagrams such as the Beckhams' and Lady Gaga's, is already set to overtake the UK's second favourite breed, the Cocker Spaniel, "within months." However, the Kennel Club's Secretary, Caroline Kisko, has warned potential owners not to buy a French Bulldog "simply because they think it looks cute or is a fashionable choice." A French Bulldog is not a "suitable choice for everyone," the Kennel Club said, and "proper research" is necessary before bringing one home. Kisko explained: "French Bulldogs can be bred with exaggerated features, including extremely flat faces, which can cause health issues – many of which owners are not aware of before they buy, which can sadly result in the emotional stress of having a sickly dog and high veterinary bills, highlighting how crucial is it for anyone intent on owning a French Bulldog to go to a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder." Jackie Mavro-Michaelis of the Pennine and Scottish French Bulldog Association echoed the Kennel Club's advice, saying that "more and more" French Bulldogs are arriving at welfare centres when their owners realise they can't look after them properly. For help in choosing the breed of dog that will best suit you and your lifestyle, visit the Kennel Club's Breed Information Centre.