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Leading pets owned by households in the United Kingdom (UK) 2019/20

According to a 2019/2020 survey, dogs are the most commonly owned pet in UK households. The share of households reporting dog ownership stands at 23 percent. The second most common house pet among UK households is a cat, with around 16 percent of respondents stating their ownership. In total, around 41 percent of UK households report owning at least one type of pet in 2019 and 2020.

Pet ownership in the UK

From 2011 to 2019, pet ownership in the UK has remained relatively constant. The share of pet ownership in UK households has hovered around 45-46 percent over the past nine years. However, the years 2016 and 2019 saw lower than average pet ownership, with just 40 percent of households saying they had a pet. The share of UK households owning a dog or cat over the past nine years has also remained relatively steady between 24 and 25 percent and between 17 and 18 percent respectively.

Happiness, companionship and man’s best friend

A 2019 survey asked dog owners to state their reasons for owning a dog and all linked their ownership to either improving their happiness and/or providing companionship. Happiness was the most common response, with 48 percent stating ‘because they make me happy’. Whereas 45 percent stated their dogs provided ‘love/affection’ and 35 percent stated their dogs provided ‘companionship’. It seems the old saying “man’s best friend” still holds true to this day.

Leading pets, ranked by household ownership in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019/20

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Release date

July 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2019 to 2020*

Number of respondents


Method of interview

Face-to-face interview

Supplementary notes

* The source makes the following note: "Over the last two years a sample of over 4,000 people have been interviewed. In order to further reduce statistical uncertainty, survey results are averaged over 2 years, giving an effective sample of over 8,000 people."
Date of release is date of access.

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Statistics on "Pet ownership in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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