Woman holding a dog in her arms with the dog looking over her shoulder looking cute

How many people in the UK own dogs?

Recent stats reveal there are approximately 12 million dogs in UK households. This article explores the significance of these figures in the context of pet ownership trends.

Dogs have long been hailed as ‘man’s best friend’, and in the UK, this saying holds true, with millions of households choosing to share their homes with doggos. But just how many people in the UK own dogs? Let’s explore the latest statistics to get a clearer picture.

The current state of dog ownership in the UK

According to the most recent data from UK Pet Food and Statista, there are around 12 million dogs living as pets in the UK, making them the most popular pet in the country​​. This statistic translates to about 31% of UK households owning a dog. In comparison, cats are the second most common pet. According to the latest research and data from 2023, there are 11 million pet cats in the UK, which accounts for 26% of households.

These figures, based on a Kantar survey answered by almost 9,000 households, provide a snapshot of the nation’s love for pets. However, it’s important to note that the methodology of this survey changed in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting from face-to-face to online, which could influence the comparability of this data to previous years​​.

The bigger picture of pet ownership

Looking at the broader pet population, the UK is a nation of animal lovers. Approximately 17.4 million households (62%) have pets, covering a range of animals from dogs and cats to rabbits and indoor birds. The pet population is a significant part of British life, reflecting the country’s longstanding tradition of keeping and caring for animals.

Trends in dog ownership

The recent rise in dog ownership can be linked to the pandemic. Many people sought the companionship of pets during lockdowns, with dogs being a popular choice. However, this increase also brought challenges. There has been a noticeable trend in people giving up their pets post-lockdown due to various reasons, including changes in living arrangements and financial constraints. Surprisingly, 60% of pets given up were dogs​​.

This trend highlights the importance of understanding the responsibilities of pet ownership. Dogs require time, commitment, and resources, and it’s crucial for potential dog owners to consider these factors before bringing a canine companion into their homes.

How has the number of dogs in the uk changed over the years?

The number of pet dogs owned in the UK has shown some fluctuations over the years. According to the PDSA, the estimated population of pet dogs in the UK increased to 11 million in 2023 from 10.1 million in February 2020. However, Statista now indicates a downward trend, with approximately 12 million pet dogs owned in the UK in 2023, down from 13 million in 2022. Although the short term trend isn’t entirely clear, what is clear is that UK households absolutely adore dogs.


In conclusion, dogs continue to be a beloved part of many UK households. While the number of dog owners is substantial, it’s accompanied by a responsibility to ensure these animals are well-cared for and loved. As we move forward, it’s essential for current and prospective pet owners to consider all aspects of pet care, ensuring that the decision to own a dog is a commitment to providing a lifelong, loving home.

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