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  • Europeans and their dogs

    At a time when France is taking over the European presidency, we are asking ourselves about the place of the dog in the different European countries: But who owns dogs? Which breeds are most representative? What are the brakes to the possession of a dog? What activities are they associated with? What is the status of a dog in a home? What happens during the holidays? How is it possible to change the canine population in different countries? So many questions answered by the survey carried out in May 2000 by Sofres 1 at the request of Société Centrale Canine.

    This study was carried out in five countries – France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Italy – ie 82% of the population of the European Community. It took place between 11 and 25 May 2000 by telephone, with representative national samples of 1,000 individuals (15 years and over) per country except Germany (2,000 individuals).

    France leads: more than a third of French people own at least one dog

    35% of French people own at least one dog , while the Germans own only 18% , the English 22% Spaniards 26% and Italians 28%.

    In the five European countries surveyed, we find mainly the owners of small dogs:

    • Among people living in single-family dwellings
    • In large families (5 people or more)
    • Rather in rural areas and in smaller settlements. It should be noted that the United Kingdom stands out for its better representation in the big cities. In Paris, for example, only 16% of the population own a dog. In France, Italy and Spain, dogs are found in households of rather modest categories. In Germany, it is rather the middle or wealthy families who own it.

    The British and the Germans … very active with their dogs

    The vast majority of Europeans practice with their dogs different activities . Champions, the British (100%) and the Germans (98%) are very keen to give exercise and occupation to their companion.

    In all countries, it is the promenade that comes first, by far in the United Kingdom (93%). In Italy and France hunting is an activity with which the dog is really associated (11%). In Germany, activities are the most diverse : walks (88%) are relayed by jogging (39%), assistance in the workplace (18%), hunting, gambling, sports Canines and bicycles.

    Note that 15% of French people say they do nothing special with their dog . Italy follows closely with 11%.

    Space and time are lacking to have a dog

    The non-possessors of dogs invoke different reasons, according to the countries, not to have them.

    The Italians (49%) and the Spaniards (39%), who live for two thirds of them in apartments, invoke priority the constraint of their habitat .

    The Germans (33%) and the British (28%) point to the fact that they do not have the time to do it : they are the ones who have the most activities with their animals ( See section on dog activity).

    The French , for their part, invoke both their habitat and the lack of time.

    Note that 25% of Spaniards say they do not like it because they do not like dogs against 19% for the British, 12% for Italians and Spaniards, and only 7% for the French.

    The possession of another animal or the cost are rather little evoked.

    A loyal companion for 60% of Europeans

    Unanimously the dog for the Europeans is above all a faithful companion .

    In Germany and France it is also the friend of children (39 and 40%). 38% of Germans also consider him a guardian and a protector (38%).

    It is the baby of the family in the 5 countries studied. Dogs are found in families of 5 or more, and the dog becomes the “last one”.

    As a faithful companion, a friend of children and a baby of the family, it is in Germany that the dog’s status is strongest.

    More dogs in France in the future !?

    The French who do not own a dog are 41% wanting to have one day. The British, the Spaniards, the Italians also think (37 to 39%). Only Germans stand out very strongly since 80% do not wish to have one day.

    For holidays: thanks to friends!

    On the eve of the holidays, the dog again becomes a topical subject in view of the unfortunate cases of abandonment noted each year. The study reveals Europeans’ attitudes towards this worrying situation.

    When Europeans go on holiday, they give their dog (45%) preferences to friends (relatives, neighbors).

    The British are the only ones left in kennels (22%). They are the ones who take them the least on holiday (14%). This can be explained by the strict regulations concerning the entry (and therefore the return) of animals into British territory.

    The French are the most numerous not to part with it (40%). They take them with them almost as much as they entrust them with knowledge (44%).

    13% of dog owners have a German Shepherd

    In the first rank , the Europeans chose the German shepherd as their companion . At the head, the Italians with 18% of these dogs (23% if we add the shepherds of the Maremma). France is a little behind with 8% of owners of this breed. The race criterion may, however, be tempered by the criterion of the group of races, but it is again in the group of sheepdogs and cattle dogs that Europeans have chosen their dog the most (from 15% for France to 29 % For Italy).

    In France, 20% of dogs belong to the group of pleasure dogs, very far ahead of other countries (2 nd , Spain with 10%). It is the poodle that comes at the head of all the races present in France with 13% ( 1st European rank). Hunting countries, dogs (9%) and dogs rapporteurs and dogs (8%) are present
    In Great Britain, the family of reporter dogs and water dogs is very widespread (20%). The Labradors and golden retrievers represent 14% of dogs today, collies , (the sheepdog family, cattle dogs) weigh 13%. The burrowing family is also very present with 24%.
    In Germany , the races mentioned are very numerous (as in Great Britain).
    However, 14% of 
    burrows and 8% of dachshunds emerge . The molossoids (pinscher, schnauzer, Doberman, Newfoundland, Swiss cowherd, etc.) account for 11% of the total.

    It was in Italy that found most Nordic dogs (5%) and fewer approvals dogs (4%). The dogs are also well represented with 7%.

    In Spain , poodles represent the 2nd breed with 6% of all dogs. It is also a hunting country, with 6% of dogs , including 3% of spaniels and 7% of dogs and water dogs , 5% of which are Cocker.

    If the British and French are very attached to the breed – only 11% and 14% respectively can not determine the breed of their dog – Italians are the least sensitive to this criterion: 35% do not give the breed of their dog .


    A slight difference between the reality lived by the owners of dogs, and their wishes: German shepherd always leading, labrador rising!

    Possessors and non-owners of dogs confused were asked about the 3 breeds they preferred.

    It is the group of shepherd dogs and dogs of cattle , who wins the palm except in the United Kingdom and in France where the dogs rapporteurs and dogs water ahead slightly. The good scores of these groups are realized thanks to the German shepherd on the one hand, and the labrador on the other hand.

    However, depending on the country, wishes evolve differently and could lead to different profiles of canine populations. So :

    • In France , the labrador is rated (33% citations), followed closely by the German shepherd (29%), the poodle (17%), the spaniel (13%), the Husky Yorkshire (8% each).
    • In the hit parade of British included the Labrador (28%), the burrows (18%), Collie (14%), the German shepherd (12%) and the spaniel (8%).
    • On the podium in Germany are the German Shepherd (36%), the dachshund (19%), Collie (15%) and the golden retriever (14%).
    • Chouchou in Spain , the German shepherd reaches records (42%). It is followed by the Husky (15%), the cocker (12%), the poodle (10%) and the boxer (8%).
    • The Italian shepherd (35%), the poodle (8%) and the shepherd of the Maremma (7%) are loyal to his love affair .

    If we compare reality and wishes, France and the United Kingdom would be likely to keep substantially the same profile of canine population. On the other hand, it is Spain and Italy which, expressing the most wishes out of step with the reality (arrival of the Husky and the Poodle in second position), should see most evolve their canine population.

    As can be seen in this study, the dog plays an important role in the lives of Europeans. However, there are important differences between different Latin and Nordic countries.

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