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08/04/2011 Toy breeds fuel upward trend in canines

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The cat has been the most popular choice for pet owners since 1994 but this year it looks as though the dog may take over.

Figures show that in 2000 there were 6.5 million dogs and 8 million cats, the number increased to 9.6 million cats in 2004 and last year the figure dropped to 8.6 million. Dogs, on the other hand, have become steadily more popular with the British public and if the growing trend continues the amount of dogs as pets will increase to 9 million.

One of the main reasons for the increase in canines is the increasing popularity for toy breeds fuelled by celebrities who often have small dogs. City pet owners prefer toy breeds as they require less exercise and less space to live. Animal behaviorists are suggesting that city dwellers are enjoying small dogs as they are far more interactive with their owners compared to cats but still cost less to feed then larger dogs.

The most popular dog in Britain is the Labrador.

Animal charities, however, point out that many owners may also see them as accessories and are not aware of the amount of time and effort required to look after even the smallest dogs.

Charities warn that all puppies should be bought from reputable breeders who are able to show the puppy with its mother at least and to be able to prove that they have correctly looked after the puppy and its mother and have vaccinated the puppies before selling them on at no less than a minimum 8 weeks old.

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