Categories: ownership

Dogs versus Cats UK: 51% have a dog and 47% have a cat (YouGov poll)

A recent YouGov poll has found that companion animal guardians (a.k.a. pet owners) are almost split down the middle with 51% living with a dog or dogs and 47% cohabiting with a cat or cats.

UK cat and dog preferences 2020

An interesting finding of the poll is perhaps unsurprising when you think about it. We know that wild dogs are pack animals. They are therefore automatically sociable when in the role of companion animals, which is one reason why couples with pets are more likely to be dog owners while single people tend to be drawn to cats.

Further, men were more likely than women to prefer dogs while a slightly higher proportion of women fancied cats. An animal behaviourist would suggest that the findings reflect the evolutionary origins of domestic dogs originating as they do from the grey wolf whereas domestic cats are inherently solitary and independent. However, there is a misconception about domestic cats because over 10,000 years of domestication they had become quite sociable as was bound to happen living in the homes of humans.

As dogs are inherently sociable or social animals and live in groups naturally they like contact with others. When a dog lives in a family of two or more it is beneficial to them because they can have a relationship with each person. When they go for a walk as a group this is also in keeping with the dog’s character.

The YouGov poll, unsurprisingly, also found that cats are more popular with people describing themselves as reclusive. Thirty-three percent of reclusive people said that they were cat people compared with twenty-eight percent who see themselves outgoing.

The YouGov poll asked 4,080 adults aged 16 and older across the United Kingdom about their most popular companion animals. In general British people (from a pool of people who “owned” a pet and those who didn’t) can be divided up into 48% who thought of themselves as dog people and 30% is cat people. It is interesting to note that these preferences do not accurately reflect ownership. There must be compromises.

How accurate is this information? Do 4,000 people reflect the behavior of 65 million? Not sure. I think we can stay with certainty that it is ABOUT 50/50 for cat and dog ownership in the UK.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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