The UK's Favourite Pets

The UK's favourite pets

Published 23 April 2018   |   Last updated 26 May 2020

In the UK, we're pretty fond of our furry and scaly companions, with 40% of households owning a pet - that's almost half of the nation!

So, it comes as no surprise that so many of us have at least one pet, especially if you have one in your home. But when it comes to cats and dogs, lizards and fish, do you know which animal makes the UK's favourite pet?

Pet population in the UK

Twelve million households played host to an animal companion in 2019. Of course, the most popular pets appear to have remained the same throughout the years, with dogs and cats consistently taking the top two spots.

That's not to say that indoor fish, rabbits, and other small animals are not keen favourites for some families - 18% of homes in the UK play host to pets that range from hamsters and birds to guinea pigs, rabbits, and fish. However, it's true that most pet owning homes in the UK seem to prefer canine and feline company.

There's also a preference when it comes to pet names. In 2019, the most popular name for a male dog was Alfie and for a female dog was Bella. As for cats, the most popular name for males was Oliver and, for females, it was Luna.

UK's favourite dogs

Dogs are often referred to as man's best friend, and it seems we as Brits agree with this statement. 25% of pet owners have a dog, compared to 17% of households who have a cat.

Furthermore, more of us are wanting to introduce a canine into our families, with the dog population rising from 8.9 million in 2018 to 9.9 million in 2019.

It may not come as much of a surprise to discover that Britain's favourite dog breed is a Labrador, a breed that is often defined by their highly adaptable and versatile nature, as well as their intelligence, discipline, and obedience. This is perhaps most apparent in the varied roles they take on, from helping the police with crime detection to assisting the visually impaired as guide dogs.

According to market data experts, Statista, as a nation we welcomed 35,347 Labradors into our homes in 2019, more than any other dog breed.

Dog breed traits

Picking the right dog for your family involves considering a few different factors; looks are one thing, but temperament is another important element to consider. How much space you have, whether you have children, and how much exercise a dog needs are just a few elements that you may want to think about before making a decision to help you find a perfect pairing.

Below are some common traits among well-known breeds that may help you to choose:

UK's favourite cats

The cat population in the UK is estimated to be 10.9 million, a higher figure than the dog population, suggesting cat owners opt to share their homes with more than one feline friend.

It's easy to see just how popular our feline friends are. After all, 17% of households play host to a moggie.

It appears the South West of England are the biggest fans of felines, with 21% of the population owning a cat. Northern Ireland has the smallest density of cats for the population, with only 12% of households having a feline companion.

Cat breed traits

Even though cats can require less hands-on attention and usually take care of their own exercise needs, it's still important to choose the right cat for you and your family.

Below are a few different breeds with common personality traits:

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