Tuesday, 6 May 2008

UK survey reveals pet owner trends

One of the best things about working at Dogs Trust HQ is the chance to meet some of the dogs staff members have adopted. Most mornings, Buster's soulful brown eyes pop up over the edge of my desk; he's accompanied his 'mum', Jo Howard to her job as head of donor development.

Today he yawns and stretches, and we're all reminded of that extra bit of indolent laziness that sets in the morning after a bank holiday. It's easy to see the wonderful relationship that Jo and Buster have, and what they each get out of their companionship. It seems that this is reflected in the rest of the UK; despite the problems of poor ownership and strays, we're still a nation of pet lovers.

Especially dogs! The Pet Food Manufacturers Association has revealed the results of research suggesting that of the 27 million pets in the country, dogs are the most popular. The study, carried out for National Pet Month (which ended yesterday) shows that 43% of all households have some sort of creature companion, 7.3 million of which are canine pals, edging ahead of 7.2 million cats.

In the capital, over a third of Londoners are getting pets for companionship (39%) with almost two thirds of singletons across the UK doing the same (60%), of which a generous chunk use their pet to 'replace' their missing partner (39%)!

Around a fifth of pet owners have, like me, craved furry / feathered / scaly / scuttling friends since childhood (21%), including almost half of people living in the North East.

Congratulations East Midlands: you are the greatest pet lovers in the country, housing 14% of all UK pets, compared to a lowly 4% residing in the whole of Wales - although we're surely they're just as loved!

Finally, the figure that interests Dogs Trust the most. Some 27% of pet owners were bought or adopted from a welfare or rescue centre, compared to 20% from a pet shop. Long may the numbers go up for centres!

So, out of all those dogs, which are the most popular breeds according to the survey?

1. Labrador
2. Border Collie
3. Jack Russell Terrier
4. Yorkshire Terrier
5. German Shepherd
6. Joint = Rottweiler and Dalmatian
7. Bischon Frise
8. Joint = Cocker Spaniel and Shih Tzu
9. Joint = Labradoodle and Golden Retriever
10. Joint = Greyhound (including Whippets) and Chihuahua

Nice to see the oft-maligned Greyhounds making an appearance there, and good to know that dogs are as popular and loved as ever. Now to get on with our daily job of ensuring that they can have happy lives, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

[via K9]
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