The experts from money.co.uk have trawled through data from more than 25,000* UK owners to discover the nation's top dogs and cats.

The data, taken from money.co.uk pet insurance policies, reveals that when it comes to dog breeds, the classic Labrador Retriever is officially man's best friend.

In the battle for the feline crown, the traditional British Shorthair takes top spot, proving most popular in England and Scotland.

Regionally, the Labrador Retriever is the most commonly owned dog in both England and Scotland. In Wales the fashionable French Bulldog is top dog, while Northern Ireland prefers the toy-like Shih Tzu as its favourite.

Female pets are by far the most favoured by UK households, six out of eight of the most popular dog and cat names are female - ruling the roost in homes across England, Scotland and Wales.

Across the country, the average puppy costs 550, whereas kittens cost just 125. In the cities, the fashionable Frenchie is the most popular dog choice in London and Cardiff where owners splash out over 1,100 on a puppy.

Ragdoll cats see the largest price difference with owners in London paying on average 368 more for their kitten than owners in Edinburgh.

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk said: "Without a doubt the UK is a nation of pet lovers but pets aren't cheap and the cost of pet ownership can really stretch household budgets if you are not careful.

"Making sure you understand all the costs associated with taking care of an animal, beyond the initial purchase price is really important. Some of the more fashionable breeds may need specialist treatment and support throughout their lifetime.

"I would always recommend comparing pet insurance deals to get the best cover for your pet and avoid any unforeseen vet bills that can rack up fast. For older pets, that have any pre-existing conditions, ensure your new policy would cover those too."

In England, Bella is the favourite pet name, taking top spot in both the dog and cat categories. In Wales, Daisy is the favourite dog name and Millie the favourite for cats.

In Scotland, Poppy the dog and Luna the cat are the most common and in Northern Ireland, where male pets are more popular, Toby is the region's preferred dog name, whilst Charlie the cat reigns supreme.

The exotic Burmese is the most chosen cat in Northern Ireland and the blue-eyed Ragdoll is the preferred puss in Scotland.

Capital City Breakdown:

Dogs

CityBreedNameCost
BelfastShih TzuToby298.57
CardiffFrench BulldogCoco1,113
EdinburghLabrador RetrieverBramble583
LondonFrench BulldogBella1,145

Cats

CityBreedNameCost
BelfastBurmeseCharlie350
CardiffBritish ShorthairSocks50
EdinburghRagdollBella181.66
LondonRagdollLily550

-Ends-

For all media enquiries please contact Robbie Platt in the money.co.uk press office: robbie.platt@money.co.uk

Notes to editors

*Data taken from 25,000 pet insurance policies provided by through money.co.uk by theidol.com

Money.co.uk is one of the UK's leading comparison websites for financial services. We help consumers compare mortgages, loans, credit cards, bank accounts and insurance from more than 600 providers.

Money.co.uk is fully authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is owned by RVU, which also owns uSwitch.com and Bankrate.