Feline friend or canine companion?

March 26, 2011, 12:22 AM GMT+0

Almost half of the population (45%) would describe themselves as a ‘dog person’ rather than a ‘cat person’, preferring to own a pet dog than a pet cat, the
results of our survey show.

  • 45% said they are a ‘dog person’
  • 31% answered that they would rather own a cat
  • While around one in five (21%) said they didn’t fit into either category

Pet preference seems to vary considerably depending on the region in which you live.

  • 54% of people living in the Midlands and Wales would opt for a dog
  • Those in the North of England (52%) and Scotland (47%) were also more inclined to want a canine friend
  • Compared to people living in both London and the South of England, who are split between the two, with 35% and 36% respectively choosing dogs, and 37% apiece preferring cats

Loyalty or independence

Whether you prefer dogs or cats can be a sensitive issue, and as our poll shows, most Brits can come off the fence on the issue and decide if they are a cat or a dog ‘person’.

Historically speaking, dogs and cats have been popular household additions, as the former were used to catch vermin and the latter to protect the owner’s property. Nowadays, pets are stereotypically likely to be known for their personalities, with cats said to be affectionate but fiercely independent, and dogs characterised as ‘man’s best friend’, loyal to the end. Informally known as a nation of animal lovers, current estimates suggest that Britain’s households are home to around 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs.

The UK was the first country to set up a society for the protection of animals, and in the early nineteenth century, what is now the RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was set up in London, resulting in dramatic changes in the law towards animal welfare. The RSPCA remains one of the most popular charities in the UK, with 55,000 adult members, and receives around £28.5m every year from money left in people’s wills alone.

See the survey details and full results