Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Dogs are popular in the UK. Following Germany, the UK has the second-highest dog population in Europe, and owners spend billions of pounds on pet products and services each year. Learn more UK dog statistics, including how many households have dogs, the average number of dogs owned, the breeds that are the most popular in the UK, and how many dogs are trained with a trainer or at home.
Top 10 UK Dog Statistics
- The estimated number of dogs kept as pets in the UK is over 12.5 million.
- More than 3 million UK households bought a pandemic pet.
- The UK is the second-highest-ranking European country in terms of its dog population, preceded by Germany.
- The most popular dog breed in the UK is a mixed breed.
- Labradors are the second-highest-ranking dog breed in the UK.
- The Chinese Crested is the least popular dog breed in the UK.
- Consumer spending on pet food and pet products and services reached £8 billion in 2020.
- Veterinary services are the most expensive pet-related expenditures at £4 billion in 2020.
- Dog owners in the UK spend an average of £594 on dog training services.
- Combined pet supplies and services account for over 10% of the average UK salary.
Number of Dogs as Pets in the UK
1. The estimated number of dogs kept as pets in the UK is over 12.5 million.
Roughly 12.5 million dogs were kept as pets in the UK in 2021. This was about 59% of households, which was an increase from roughly 45% of households who had a dog the decade prior. The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine conditions may have contributed to this increase.
2. More than 3 million UK households bought a pandemic pet.
(Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association)
Over 3 million UK households bought a pet during the pandemic. Of the 34 million household pets in the UK, 12 million are dogs, 12 million are cats, 3.2 million are small mammals, 3 million are birds, and 1.5 million are reptiles. The households are mostly Gen-Z and Millennials, with 2/3 of new owners aged 16 to 34. About 74% of respondents say that their pets have helped their mental health through the pandemic.
3. The UK is the second-highest-ranking European country in terms of its dog population, preceded by Germany.
In 2020, Germany had the highest pet population in the European Union with over 10 million dogs. The UK came in second with a dog population of 8.5 million. The total number of pets in Europe has increased from 73 million to over 89 million in 2020. Despite this increase, there hasn’t been a significant impact on the sales of pet food in Europe.
Most Popular Dog Breeds in the UK
4. The most popular dog breed in the UK is a mixed breed.
The pandemic brought more dogs into people’s households in the UK. As a result, the popularity shifted from purebreds to mixed breeds. These dogs offer a wide range of looks and personalities, as well as fewer health issues overall. Other top breeds include Dachshunds, French Bulldogs, Border Collies, Cockapoos, and Labrador Retrievers.
5. Labradors are the second-highest-ranking dog breed in the UK.
The Labrador Retriever takes the second spot among the most popular dog breeds. The breed originated in the UK as a retriever gun dog after they were imported from Newfoundland. These dogs are popular for their family-friendly nature, workman personality, and laidback temperament.
6. The Chinese Crested is the least popular dog breed in the UK.
The top dog breeds in the UK are typically working or herding dogs, most of which originated in Britain. The least popular breeds are the opposite and include the Chinese Crested at the number-one spot, followed by the Bullboxer Pit, Chihuahua, Pit Bull, Pekingese, Miniature Bull Terrier, and Miniature Xoloitzcuintli.
Dog Ownership Statistics in the UK
7. Consumer spending on pet food and pet products and services reached £8 billion in 2020.
As the number of pets in the UK increased, so did the spending on pet supplies and pet-related products and services. The total reached £8 billion in 2020, which is an increase from £2.9 billion in 2005. This includes pet food, dog walking, pet sitting, and grooming.
The highest consumer spending for pet products was on veterinary services and other services. From 2005 to 2020, the expenditure totaled nearly £4 billion, an increase from £1.4 billion in 2005. Numerous pet owners have pet insurance, however; the number of individuals with pet insurance decreased from £3.8 billion in 2017 to £3.4 million in 2019.
9. Dog owners in the UK spend an average of £594 on dog training services.
On average, pet owners in the UK spend £594 on dog training services. Over 53% of surveyed pet owners have never been to a professional dog trainer or training class and opt for training dogs at home, while over 32% went to dog training classes at some point. Only 14.4% of surveyed pet owners continue to attend dog training classes or use a professional trainer.
10. Combined pet supplies and services account for over 10% of the average UK salary.
On average, pet owners spend over £3,000 each year on dog walking services, grooming, training, pet sitting, and supplies, which is roughly 10% of the average UK salary (just over £27,000 per annum).
Frequently Asked Questions About UK Dog Statistics
Are There Any Concerns With the Increase in Pet Ownership?
While many owners claimed that having a pet was beneficial for their mental health, the increase in pet-owning households and pets in the UK raises concerns for pet welfare. Over a third of new owners said that having a new pet is like having a baby, and a fifth of families with children said that training a dog was more challenging than anticipated. Despite the increase in pandemic pet ownership, 5% of households have surrendered pets.
Introducing pets to households during the pandemic can present problems when life returns to normal. Only 15% of owners have a pet-friendly workplace, leaving many pets at home without attention or supervision. These pets are used to having humans around during lockdown and may struggle to adjust as owners return to work and school routines. (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association)
How Is Dog Training Beneficial?
Behavioral problems are among the most common reasons for surrendering a dog to a shelter. Dog training services and classes can mitigate or prevent behavioral problems, but some owners don’t have access to these services due to costs. In addition to the costs of the dog training services themselves, owners in low socioeconomic classes may hit other barriers to attending dog training classes, such as transportation or work schedules.
According to a study, owners were given face-to-face and online classes to determine dropout rates. The online classes had higher attendance, and the face-to-face classes had lower dropout rates among higher-income owners. The face-to-face training classes also had better attendance from owners in the area. These results suggest that the limitations of dog training for individuals in low socioeconomic classes are more than financial. This research hopes to identify opportunities to provide access to dog training classes to people with low socioeconomic backgrounds. (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
How Well Are UK Dogs Trained?
According to research, almost every dog owner believes that their dog is trained better than other people’s dogs. 46.2% of people rated other people’s dogs at a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10, while 51.9% of people gave their own dog a 7 or 8 out of 10 for training. Furthermore, people who don’t own a dog gave dogs a higher score than those with dogs. (Pet365)
How Many Dogs Are Trained at Home and How Many at a Trainer?
Roughly 94% of respondents reported that they work on training with their dogs at home, 46.9% of people said that they had attended a dog training class of some kind, and of those, 14.4% still attend. Owners also said that recall is the most important skill for a dog to have, followed by “stay” and “sit.” Despite this, 90.2% of dogs had strong “sit” commands, followed by recall at 82.1%. (Pet365)
What’s the Average Number of Dogs Owned in UK Households?
By 2017, the average number of dogs owned in UK households was 1.3. The East Midlands and West Midlands had the highest average at 1.5 dogs per household, and London had the lowest average at 1.1 dogs per household. (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association)
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, more UK households took on pets, especially dogs. UK households are estimated to have 12.5 million dogs, making it the second-highest-ranking European country for dog ownership. Pet owners in the UK spend roughly 10% of their annual income on pet services, including dog training and veterinary care.