BBC News: “canines now exceeding cats for the first time in 21 years”

The BBC informs us in an article that, in the UK, the number of dogs exceeds the number of cats for the first time in 21 years. The information comes from the annual Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) report.

Happy dog

Happy dog. Photo by Pete Birkinshaw

The 2013 report tells us that there are 8,500,000 dogs in the UK and the same number of cats. However, the domestic dog is found in 25% of UK households while the domestic cat is found in 19% of UK households. This indicates that there are more multi-cat households than there are are multi-dog households, which I suppose is common sense.

In Wales 35% of households look after a dog companion. The north-east of England is the area where there is the highest number of households that have a dog.

The increase in dog numbers in the UK is due to a rise in imported dogs according to the Dog Trust. Also, there appears to be a greater number of celebrities who keep fashionable breeds of dog. The create a demand.

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There appears to be a large number of puppies being imported into the UK both illegally and legally to meet demand.

I’m not sure that these figures are significant to be honest. There appears to be an even number of dogs and cats in the UK so I’m not really clear about the BBC News. It appears to be incorrect. In fact, the more I think about these figures the more I think they are wrong. If you go back into the past and look at all the figures you always see an even split between the numbers of cats and dogs in the UK. And you also see quite a variation in the estimated number of both these domestic species of animal.

I therefore have to conclude that these statistics may not be that precise because they are no doubt based upon a telephone survey of some sort and perhaps the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association survey 1000 to 2000 households and then extrapolate for a countrywide figure which may not be accurate enough.

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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7 Responses

  1. kylee says:

    Well that may be true, but i don’t agree totally not in other bits of the world. Its hard when this sort of data is only in places like uk/Usa

  2. Caroline says:

    The stats that I came up with for the US for 2013/2014 is that there are now more dogs than cats when considered as a single pet household, but there are more cats overall in the household, due to multiple cat “ownership.” I only looked as far as three sources. Here is one [again, pet food source]:

  3. Dee (Florida) says:

    Illegally imported dogs to the UK would leave you wide open to many horrible things that you don’t have now.

  4. Ruth aka Kattadorra says:

    I don’t often agree with statistics but I can quite believe the fact that the North East has more dogs in households.
    Not just one dog, but multiple dogs!
    Sadly, to many of the owners they are status symbols and not cared for as they should be. It’s the same with cats, it’s becoming a huge problem here because many end up in our already overflowing Rescue Shelters.
    There are good dog owners and cat caretakers too of course, but becoming few and far between now.

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