Shake Paws

— the home of dogs —

Dogs really are (wo)man’s best friend

by Shake Paws

A survey by Churchill Pet Insurance confirms that the UK really is a nation of dog lovers

People in the UK prefer dogs over cats Photo: Flickr/jeffreyw, Attribution 2.0 Generic

In the contest between dogs versus cats, the UK nation has spoken and it prefers dogs. New research by Churchill Pet Insurance reveals that almost half (45%) of UK adults prefer dogs over cats. Just a quarter (23%) of people prefer cats over dogs and another quarter (23%) like both equally. Controversially, nearly one in 10 (9%) do not like either dogs or cats.

When asked which personality traits they associate most with dogs and cats, dogs are seen as loyal (77%) and protective (63%), while being friendly (62%) and giving owners unconditional love (61%). Cats on the other hand are seen as territorial (54%) and intelligent (54%) but also independent thinkers (49%) and aloof (43%).

The preference for dogs over cats is consistent across gender, although men like them slightly more than women (48% versus 41%). On a regional basis, those living in Belfast (67%) and Newcastle (55%) like dogs the most. Those living in southern cities were the closest in choosing between dogs and cats, as just 8% more people living in Plymouth and 11% more living in Brighton preferred dogs to cats.

“We are officially a nation of dog lovers – a preference that transcends age, gender and location,” said Churchill’s Dan Streets. “Our friendly pooches give us unconditional love and protection, so have earned the top spot as our loyal companion. It’s not all doom and gloom for cats though, as our research clearly shows that many see them as the pet of choice, as their independent thinking and intelligence in looking after themselves means they are often the perfect pet.”

It is not all bad news for cats though. While those living in all regions clearly prefer dogs, this is not always reflected in ownership levels. In fact, more people living in Southampton, Plymouth and Norwich own cats than own dogs. While dogs are the preferred choice, the practicalities of owning a dog may be the reason why cats win out in the ownership contest.

The same is true for those living in London. While adults in the capital prefer dogs (42%) to cats (25%), the lack of available gardens and outdoor space may account for more people owning cats (19%) compared to dogs (18%).