There are almost twenty-eight million households in the United Kingdom. Seven million of them are home to ‘man’s best friend’: the dog. Britain is a nation of dog lovers, with up to 14 per cent of owners saying they prefer their pet to their partner!

Dear Dogs

The dog, a.k.a. Canis familiaris, was first domesticated around 10,000 BC. However, pet-keeping only became socially acceptable in Britain in the 18th century. One hundred years later, the Victorians began to emphasise the importance of home and domestic life, and that domesticity included pet dogs. Children kept pets to cultivate commitment and caring values.

In Britain today, dogs are more important than ever. Almost 25 per cent of owners have a social media profile for their pet, 85 per cent consider it to be a member of the family, and 33 per cent of dogs have their own chair in the living room. British people walk their dogs more than any other European nation, for up to three hours a day. Animal experts explain the British devotion to dog-walking as a useful aid to a socially-awkward nation —it helps people to socialise with strangers.

Best friend

Man’s best friend has also been an important aid during the pandemic. Millions of people confined to home have turned to their pets for company. And thousands more are buying dogs every day. Puppy prices have doubled, sadly producing a new criminal activity. Gangs are stealing bitches and forcing them to breed, and then selling the puppies for enormous sums. Man and dog are both victims of Covid-19.