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Which pets are the most popular in the UK?

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Surveys show that in the United Kingdom more than fifty percent of all households have some type of pet in residence. Other studies do not agree on whether the majority of these are cat households or dog households. The preference between them seems to change over time. No other animal comes close to the popularity of these two species. Nevertheless, there seems to be an increasing interest in amphibians and reptiles in recent years.

With dogs and cats, as always, at the top of the list of popular UK pets; which ones come next? Rabbits are the next closest favorite coming in at about one sixth as many as dogs or cats. The next category has indoor birds, hamsters, horses and ponies, and snakes. Gerbils, turtles and rats fall in below the rest in their popularity quotient.

The most interesting thing about the popularity of certain pets is that several species are desired by both adults and children. The most popular with both is cats. For both adults and children; rabbits, birds, hamsters and rats are also quite popular. These animals are generally thought of as a child’s pet, but adults are becoming more inclined toward smaller, easy care pets as well.

Children like cats, hamsters, mice and rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and even chickens. Many children love pets but have allergies that prevent them from having pets that can shed hair or dander. An aquarium of fish is usually a good choice in this case. Goldfish are already 18 million strong in the UK. That does not include tropical fish and others types.

It seems that the race between dogs and cats partially comes down to the fact that dogs must be taken out and walked for exercise. You also cannot go away from home for very long without having to go home to tend the dog. Cats are far more self-sufficient and they do not have to be walked or exercised outside. The same seems to be true of the other small pets that are gaining popularity these days.

Budgerigars or budgies are the most sought after indoor bird. There are over one million budgies in UK households today. As of yet, they do not compete with dogs and cats in numbers, but their numbers are steadily increasing.

Small exotic pets are also increasingly popular. Snakes, spiders and several species of lizard are kept as pets by many people today. The expected longevity of pets also contributes to whether they are chosen as a household pet. People tend to choose species with a longer life span for pets.

Although more and more people are keeping exotic pets these days; the fact still remains, that none of these animals will ever replace the dog and cat in people’s affections or their homes.


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