The Philippines has a population of over 110 million people and, like the rest of the world, the Philippines saw a significant increase in pet interest during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Southeast Asia saw an 89% increase in the number of people conducting pet-related Google searches in 2021. When it comes to specific pet types, dogs are by far the most popular option with Filipinos, followed by cats and then fish. The nation, as a whole, spends approximately $125 million on pet food, and this figure is expected to increase dramatically in the next 4 years.
Read on for these and other statistics related to pet ownership and expenditure in the Philippines.
Top 11 Philippines Pet Ownership Statistics
- There are nearly 12 million dog owners in the Philippines.
- Filipinos own nearly 11 million dogs.
- 67% of Filipinos have a dog in their house.
- The Shih Tzu is the most popular dog breed.
- 43% of people have a cat in the house.
- Dogs are five times more popular than cats in the Philippines.
- Filipinos conducted nearly 7 million pet-related Google searches in the first 9 months of 2021.
- Other popular pets include birds, goldfish, and tropical fish.
- Southeast Asia saw an 89% increase in pet ownership interest during the COVID pandemic.
- The pet food market is worth $124 million.
- The pet food market is expected to grow more than 14% in 2023.
Dogs and Dog Owners
1. There are nearly 12 million dog owners in the Philippines.
The Federation Cynologique Internationale, or FCI, is the official kennel club registry in the Philippines. It was established in 1911 to promote certain standards across purebred dogs. While it does not hold an official registry, it does have a studbook, which many purebred dogs are registered with.
According to the FCI, they had 20,329 registered members in 2020, which was up from 19,455 in 2019. In 2021, the number rose significantly to 27,415 registered members.
The group estimates that there were 11.6 million dog owners in 2020, including owners of purebred and mixed breed dogs.
2. Filipinos own nearly 11 million dogs.
The group also estimates that, in 2020, those 11.6 million owners owned 10.8 million dogs. The fact that there are fewer dogs than dog owners can be accounted for by dogs being owned by multi-member families as well as by individual owners.
This figure includes 1.4 million purebred dogs registered with the studbook. Roughly 94,000 new dogs were registered with the studbook in 2020, with a further 137,000 added in 2021, suggesting that there is likely a significantly higher number of dogs in the country in 2022 than 2 years ago.
3. 67% of Filipinos have a dog in their house.
In the Asia-Pacific region, it is estimated that 32% of households have a dog, with figures varying greatly between nations. Indonesia has the lowest number of households with dogs, with just 10% housing one or more canine companions. The Philippines has the highest dog ownership ratio with 67%, or two-thirds, of all households owning one or more dogs.
4. The Shih Tzu is the most popular dog breed.
Unusually, there is no official dog breed listed as being of Filipino origin. Askal is the name given to the mixed breed dogs that roam the streets and are of mixed breed. They may also be known as Ayam, Irong Bisaya, and Aspin. When it comes to domesticated breeds, it is the Shih Tzu that is the most popular.
The Shih Tzu is a small companion dog that originates from China. It is popular because of its size but also because it has been bred as a companion dog, so it has a friendly nature. It follows its owner from room to room, explaining why it is such a popular choice.
Cats in the Philippines
5. 43% of people have a cat in the house.
While Filipinos are clearly a nation of dog lovers, they also have a strong affinity with cats. About 26% of households across the Asia-Pacific region own cats, but 42% of Filipino households have at least one feline family member. Only Indonesia has a higher cat ownership rate, and only by a small margin, with 43% of Indonesian households owning one or more.
6. Dogs are five times more popular than cats in the Philippines.
Considering Internet searches, five times more searches are conducted on Google by people looking for information on dogs than cats. This includes people looking for information on buying or adopting dogs but also looking for information on pet care and other information, so it doesn’t necessarily mean there are five times more dog owners than cat owners.
The Philippines was responsible for the most pet-related Google searches of any nation in Southeast Asia. They conducted a total of nearly 7 million searches during the first 9 months of 2021, from a total of 13 million searches in the region. Vietnam had the second most pet-related searches, with just 1.9 million conducted during the same period.
8. Other popular pets include birds, goldfish, and tropical fish.
After dogs and cats, Filipinos’ favorite pets are birds, with 10% of households owning one. Roughly 7 % own goldfish and 6% own tropical fish. About 3% of households also reported owning rabbits and hamsters and 2% own reptiles. No households reported owning an insect as a pet.
9. Southeast Asia saw an 89% increase in pet ownership interest during the COVID pandemic.
The Southeast Asian region’s 12.9 million searches between January and September 2021 was a massive 89% increase over the same 9-month period of 2019. Typical reasons for owning a pet include reducing stress and anxiety and providing companionship, which was deemed especially important during lockdowns and restricted citizen movement.
10. The pet food market is worth $124 million.
All pets need to be fed, and while some owners do choose to make food for their pets themselves, the majority of owners buy commercial pet food. The Philippine pet food market generates a total of $124 million per year, equating to $1.10 per person in 2022.
11. The pet food market is expected to grow more than 14% in 2023.
Based on current figures, the pet food market in the Philippines is expected to rise by 14.6% in 2023, which would bring total revenue in the sector to $142 million. This includes pet food for all pet types and does not include expenditure on items like toys and healthcare, so the total pet market will be worth notably more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Philippines Pet Ownership
What Is the Most Popular Pet in the Philippines?
By far, the most popular type of pet in the Philippines is the dog, with two-thirds of all Filipino households reported as owning at least one dog. There are over 10 million dogs in the country, and the figure has risen sharply in recent years. It is believed that the Shih Tzu is the most popularly owned breed, but there are likely to be more mixed breeds, which is true in most parts of the world.
What Pets Can You Have in the Philippines?
With regards to types or species of animal, exotic pets require that their owner have a license to keep the pet. There are no restricted breeds of dogs, or dangerous dog breeds, and it is legal to own most cats. (Anglo Info)
Is There a Filipino Breed of Dog?
There is no official breed of dog from the Philippines. Most stray and wild dogs are mixed breed, although the Asong Gubat, or witch dog, looks likely to become the first recognized Filipino breed. The breed lives in the wild, can climb trees, hunts snakes, and will only breed with other dogs of its species. It is a very difficult breed to domesticate and is rarely kept as a household pet because of this. (Esquire)
Is It Legal to Have a Pet Turtle in the Philippines?
All reptiles in the Philippines are protected under the Wildlife Act 2001 and illegally owning one without the appropriate health certificate and license can lead to a fine and potential imprisonment. As such, it is essential that would-be owners check with local authorities and seek the appropriate permission before importing or buying a turtle or other amphibian or reptile. (Traffic)
What Is the Philippines’ Most Popular Cat?
There are no official Philippine breeds of cat. The Puspin is a cat of no specific breed and is similar to what is referred to as a domestic shorthair cat. In the Philippines, the Puspin may have a stump tail, and this type of cat is considered low maintenance because of its short coat. Because this type of cat originates from many different gene pools, it may be less likely to suffer from genetic or hereditary conditions that are found in purebred cats. (IRO Island Rescue)
Filipinos are a nation of animal lovers with two-thirds owning a dog and more than 40% of all households owning at least one cat. Their love for pets doesn’t stop there, with households having reported owning birds, fish, and other animals, too. Interest in pets rose significantly during the Covid pandemic and, as a result of the larger number of pet owners in the country, it is expected that the pet food market will increase in the coming years.
Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock