Cocker spaniels were ranked second in the list of runaway dogs (Sara Bevan/Alamy)
Sarah Bussell, rehoming supervisor at Blue Cross, said: "Many dogs just want to play and explore, but it was interesting to see labradors came on top for being the most likely breed to run away.
"While they don't mean to become lost, if they catch a smell or see something exciting in the distance it can be hard to get their attention and call them back to you.
"And if you panic, sometimes they will get scared, so the best thing to do is try and remain calm and encourage them to come back to you with a toy or tasty treat."
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"It also means you will be fully compliant with the law with new regulations about microchipping now just a year away".
Finishing off the top five list of dogs most likely to run away from home or while on a walk was the English springer spaniel.
Staffordshire bull terriers are also culprits for sneaking off and leaving their owners searching for them.
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The average dog owner has had the panic of losing man's best friend three times already - and six in ten know other owners who have lost their pet, the study found.
However, one in five do not have their dog microchipped and half of these owners admit they probably will not ever have it done.
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While having a microchip is not currently compulsory, it will be in a year so those expecting to leave their dog unchipped could be facing a hefty fine of up to £500.
It is already a legal requirement that dogs should wear a tag in public, but only 23 per cent of owners knew this was the case and only half knew the tag must include their name.
Ms Bussell added: "So many animals arrive at our centres as strays, but they have clearly been cared for and could be much-loved and much missed pets."
Top 15 dog breeds most likely to run away
- Labrador retriever
- Cocker spaniel
- Jack Russell
- German shepherd
- English springer spaniel
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- Border collie
- West Highland terrier
- Cavalier King Charles spaniel
- Yorkshire terrier
- Border terrier
Source: Blue Cross