The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s pet dog Lupo has sparked a rise in dog thefts.
Royal enthusiasts are so eager to get their hands on a black cocker spaniel like the pup ? who was pictured with the royals and their newborn son Prince George in the first official portrait of the young family ? that demand for the breed has "soared", resulting in thefts and dogs being bought on the black market.
Colin Butcher of Pet Detectives, which helps find stolen animals, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper, "We are currently looking for 13 working cocker spaniels and have recovered five in the past 12 months. They are the tip of the iceberg, as a lot of people probably don't realise that their dog has been stolen. Many may think they have been run over or just gone astray.
"Whenever a particular breed receives a lot of attention, its popularity goes up. Legitimate registered [breeders and] sellers cannot ? and do not ? want to meet demand."
Colin has urged owners of black cocker spaniels to have their pets microchipped to make it easier to find them should they go missing.