Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend this year’s Bark in the Park in Queens Park however I hear it was as popular as ever. Having been along in previous years’ and seen the wide range of shapes and sizes I started wondering more about our pet dogs.
A 2014 survey by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association showed that 13 million UK households have pets, with dogs being the most popular choice. There are 9 million dogs living in 24% of our households, ranking highest in sheer numbers after fish, and beating cats into second place in popularity stakes (7.9 million cats in 18% of households). Since 1992 cats were the most popular choice of pet, but the trend for small fashionable dog breeds and ‘designer’ dogs recently helped to tip the balance. The Kennel Club say that between 2001 and 2011 the number of pedigree dog registrations rose by 25%.
In January the BBC reported that based on data held on electric chips in five million dogs, the UK’s favourite dog breed is the Labrador with over half a million tagged. London, the West Midlands and the North West all bucked that trend by choosing the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as their top dog, while people in South Wales, the West Country and Northern Ireland picked the Jack Russell as their perfect pooch. According to this data, the most popular breeds here in Brighton are (in order) the Labrador, Jack Russell, Staffie, Border Collie and Cocker Spaniel. Where space is at a premium, as expected, smaller breeds are popular whilst in rural and sparsely populated areas larger dogs gain in popularity. (There was no data on mixed breeds; in my opinion the poodle crosses seem to outnumber all other breeds in Brighton and Hove right now!)
In late 2014, research carried out by dogsblog.com showed that over two thirds of UK animal rescue centres saw an increase in the number of rescued dogs over the last year. Common reasons for dogs coming into rescue include training issues, cost of upkeep, underfeeding and failure to treat health problems. It would seem that whilst dogs are becoming increasingly fashionable, not all prospective owners research the breeds they buy or fully understand how much money and effort is required to keep a dog, train it and ensure it lives a fulfilling and harmonious life with its humans.
Sainsbury’s are currently running a prize draw with a chance to win £250 in shopping vouchers – all you have to do is tell them whether you are a dog person or a cat person.
I’ve got a strong feeling based on my small bit of research that dogs are going to win hands down, and at the last count on 17 July dogs were in the lead with 60% of votes, versus 40% for our feline friends.
Go to http://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/money-matters/cats-versus-dogs-prize-draw.shtml and have your say!