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COURTESY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

“Dog owning has traditionally been seen as a male thing.”


woman’s

best friend

Dogs are twice as likely to have a female owner than a male one

Jasper Copping,

per cent). Owners of these two breeds include the actresses Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway.

hey are known as man’s best friend, but new figures show that twice as many women as men now own dogs. New figures from the Kennel Club shows that there are now twice as many female owners as male.

It is the first time the Kennel Club has established the gender divide in dog ownership. It believes the high proportion of female owners reflect changing social trends, with more women marrying later and having children later.

t

the telegraph

Forty per cent of the country’s pedigrees are registered to women, compared with only 21.5 per cent to men. The remainder are recorded as having joint owners – the vast majority of which are couples.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dog owning has traditionally been seen as quite a male thing. You only have to look back through art and literature and see that men used to keep dogs for working. If womFemale owners now outnumber en had a dog, they would have males in most breeds, including been from upper echelons of somany of the larger, boisterous ciety. ones, traditionally associated with men, such as golden retrievers (42 per cent women and 16 per cent men) and Labrador retrievers (34 per cent and 25

woman’s best friend | 47


B

ut we have changed and our lifestyles have changed. There have been social changes which mean women get married later and have children later. But there is still something important in having something to love and look after. “On the whole, our dogs don’t work any more. They are for companionship, and there has been a trend to have smaller ones that are easier to handle, and can live in cities and these are the animals that women now tend to own.”

Although many of the women owners will be in relationships or married, the fact that the animal is registered in their name – rather than jointly – suggests that they consider it to be “their” pet.

However, there were some surprising findings, with big breeds such as Dalmatians, German shepherds, dobermanns, St Bernards, and Great Danes, like From the data, the Club has also golden retrievers and Labraestablished which breeds have dor retrievers, more likely to be the highest proportion of men owned by women. and women owners. The data shows that couples are Very few now have more male more likely to opt for more unthan female ones. Many of those usual, newly fashionable breeds Rhodesian ridgebacks, that do appear to conform to a like type – being animals traditional- Hungarian vizslas, Norwegian ly seen as the most macho: such elkhounds, shar peis, Afghan as the bull terrier, Staffordshire hounds and Weimaraners. Beabull terrier, bulldog, dogue de gles, bearded collies and NewBordeaux, Akita and malinois, a foundlands were also popular among couples. popular guard dog.

The figures come after a separate survey conducted for the Kennel Club found that four out of ten women (39.8 per cent) said that having a dog was a happy alterGender stereotypes also abound native to having children. at the top of the list with the The Club conducted its break- highest proportion of women down of men and women own- owners. It is dominated by small ers from studying all pedigrees “handbag” dogs like registered between 2000 and 2011 – a total of around 2.75 Chihuahuas and shih tzus, along with Pomeranians, Pekinese, million animals. dachshunds, Lhasa apsos, poodles, pugs, Yorkshire terriers,

“Statistically speaking, dogs are now the woman’s best friend.”

COURTESY WIKIPEDIA

48 | woman’s best friend

West Highland white terriers and cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today, said: “It does seem to be that far from being man’s best friend, statistically speaking, dogs are now the woman’s best friend. Even within families and relationships, women are often the driving force in decisions like getting a dog and choosing what breed it is.”


Dog ownership in Great Britain

joint ownership

women

men

Number of dogs per owner in the U.S.

GRAPHS MADE WITH INFOGR.AM

woman’s best friend | 49


courtesy facebook Actress Julianne Hough’s Cavaliers, Lexi & Harley

Talk show host, Bethenny Frankel’s dog, Cookie

Actress Zooey Deschanel with her dogs, Zelda & Dot

Oprah Winfrey walking her 4 dogs in the rain

Actress Katherine Heigl with her Chihuahua, Gertrude

Actress Jessica Alba’s Pug, Sid

Amanda Seyfried with her Australian Shepherd, Finn

The Obama family dog, Bo

courtesy wikipedia

Today Show host, Hoda Kotb’s pup, Blake

leading ladies

& THEIR PUPS

50 | woman’s best friend

We grabbed snapshots of some famous dogs, posted on their owners’ Instagram accounts.


health benefits

of owning a dog

1

Sarah Grace McCandless, animal planet Keep Your Chin Up

Pets are a great way to beat the blues. Not only are they known to they offer unconditional love, but they may also give their owners a sense of purpose, which can be crucial for those feeling down in the dumps. Pets also combat feelings of loneliness by providing companionship, which can boost your overall mood and even bring you feelings of joy and happiness. This is particularly apparent among groups -- including the sick and elderly -- who may be on the receiving end of Animal-assisted Therapy (AAT) or Pet-facilitated Therapy (PFT). Many hospitals and nursing homes use these types of programs on a regular basis.

Get a Move On

Need a little motivation in the exercise department? Dogs can act as the perfect personal trainer, if only because most of them need to be walked several times a day. According to studies like those conducted by the Wellness Institute at Northwest Memorial Hospital, as long as you’re the one holding the leash, you’ll reap the rewards, which can include losing -- or at least maintaining -- weight. Research conducted by the National Institute of Health also supports this claim -- including one study of more than 2,000 adults, which found that dog owners responsible for walking their pups are less likely to be obese than dog owners who pass the duty off to someone else or those who don’t own dogs at all.

3

Stay Heart Healthy

Many pet owners would agree that a pet can fill your heart with love. So maybe it’s only fitting that the presence of a pet can help improve the overall health of that organ, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets. The findings showed that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels -- all of which can ultimately minimize their risk for having a heart attack down the road. For those who have already experienced a heart attack, research also indicates that patients with a dog or a cat tend to have better recovery rates. These benefits are thought to be connected with pets’ tendency to help reduce or at least control their owners’ overall stress levels.

Meet and Greet

One of the fringe benefits of taking on the responsibility of pet ownership is that animals can be an instant icebreaker, whether they’re with you or you’re just using them as a topic of conversation. Of course, few people would suggest getting a pet solely for this purpose, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that pets provide a great means for improving your socialization skills across the board, especially in terms of meeting and interacting with other pet owners. Though people sometimes may have a hard time getting to know each other, pets can be the common denominator that helps them connect -- even among people who don’t seem to be very much alike.

5

2

BREATHE EASIER

4

Many pet owners would agree that a pet can fill your heart with love. So maybe it’s only fitting that the presence of a pet can help improve the overall health of that organ, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets. The findings showed that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels -- all of which can ultimately minimize their risk for having a heart attack down the road. For those who have already experienced a heart attack, research also indicates that patients with a dog or a cat tend to have better recovery rates. These benefits are thought to be connected with pets’ tendency to help reduce or at least control their owners’ overall stress levels.

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Woman's Best Friend