Smaller dog breeds are becoming more popular among homeowners, according to new findings.

According to the Kennel Club registration figures, even old favourites such as the Old English Sheepdog and the English Setter are no longer as common as smaller pooches.

The research showed that registration for larger breeds, such as the English Setter, dropped by 32 per cent.

Conversely, the so-called 'handbag' dogs are the 'top risers' when it comes to registrations, with registrations for the French Bulldog increasing by 529 per cent, while interest in the Smooth Coated Chihuahua rose by 221 per cent.

The only larger dogs on the list were the Boston Terrier, Coton de Tulear and the Pug.

Furthermore, the report showed that registrations for the Old English Sheepdog have declined by 27 per cent and interest in the English Setter has fallen by 33 per cent.

The report suggested that lifestyle considerations may be a major factor behind people opting for the smaller breeds.

Commenting on the findings, Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, said: "The report suggested that lifestyle considerations may be a major factor behind people opting for the smaller breeds.

"Whilst a small dog breed might be the perfect choice for some people and a better fit for their lifestyle, if they live in a small property or in an urban area with less access to large open spaces, this might not be the case for everybody."

The research revealed that it is only the small dogs on the list that have continued on the upwards trend in the first three quarters of 2014, compared to the same period last year.

Although many people may perceive larger dogs as harder to take care of, the truth is, with the right training techniques, exercise and diet, taking care of a bigger pooch doesn't have to be difficult.

If, for example, you feed your dog on raw, natural dog foods, such as those included in the Barf diet, it will be much easier to exercise it, and provide all the nutrition it needs.

Written by: Hannah