Despite a national rise, dog thefts across the Northumbria area have seen a decline, with 81 incidents reported in 2021, according to a Freedom of Information request from Direct Line Pet Insurance.
By comparison, the number was down from 92 in 2020 however that is still an increase on the figures before the pandemic, with 49 in 2019.
Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: “It’s devastating to see the number of dogs stolen continue to increase across the country.
"Unfortunately, the increase in dog ownership since the pandemic began and the subsequent rise in prices of these animals seems to make the crime even more appealing to thieves."
The Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance said the demand for dogs during lockdown caused a "huge spike" in them being stolen for breeding, with their value also increasing.
Debbie Matthews, chief executive of the charity, commented: "Dogs were also essentially being stolen ‘to order’ for people who were looking for a certain breed, but would never know that they were receiving a stolen dog.
"We would always recommend that a new owner gets the pet’s microchip registration checked as soon as possible."
According to Direct Line Pet Insurance, French bulldogs were the most stolen breed last year, followed by Jack Russells, chihuahuas and pugs.