10 Most Popular Animals as Pets in the UK

Most popular pets in the UK

The most popular pets in the UK

The UK has a love for animals like no other. 6 out of 10 people in the UK are pet owners, with dogs (33%) being the most popular choice of animal. 

Here, we look at the top 10 most popular animals that British people choose to have as pets. The top two won't come as much of a surprise to you, but the rest of the list may surprise you... 

top 10 pets in the UK

1. Dogs

Dogs are, by far, the most popular choice of pet in the UK, with 1 in 3 Brits owning a dog. Dogs influence social, emotional, and cognitive development in children, promote an active lifestyle, provide companionship, and have even been able to detect oncoming epileptic seizures or the presence of certain cancers. 

Dogs can also help to relieve stress and anxiety in people.

2. Cats 

27% of the UK population own cats. Cat's make great pets because they are independent, which is ideal for people who work full time, or who live in an apartment. They are less expensive to keep and require less maintenance than dogs. 

Overall, cats are wonderful pets and will provide a lifetime of love and affection, just like dogs.

3. Indoor Birds

2% of the UK population own some type of indoor bird. Indoor birds such as parrots, budgies, canneries, and cockatiels, have always made good pets, because they tend to be low mantainecne, and less expensive than various other animals.  

Indoor birds can also be fun to interact with, for both children and adults. 

4. Rabbits

Rabbits make great pets. In general rabbits need appropriate housing, exercise, socialisation and a specific diet for good welfare. Some breeds of rabbits, particularly the longer haired rabbits, may require daily grooming.

2% of Brits own a rabbit. 

5. Hamsters 

1.7% of UK homes has a pet hamster. Hamsters, for many people, make excellent pets. They don't require a lot of attention, get enough exercise running on their wheel, and are cute, cuddly, and pleasant to hold. 

They can also make an excellent starter pet for some children.

6. Guinea Pigs 

1.2% of the UK has a pet Guinea Pig. Guinea Pigs generally like to be held and cuddled, and they are very social animals, love human interaction and particularly like it when their necks and backs are stroked and gently scratched. 

Due to their relatively small size and fragile nature, it is important to handle and cuddle them with utmost care. Guinea Pigs also make good starter pets for young children.

7. Tortoises / Turtles

1 in 100 people own a turtle or a tortoise. Turtles are one of the oldest kinds of reptiles on the planet. Their hard shell and slow-moving mannerisms make them unique pets. 

They're hardy creatures and can be fun to care for. They may seem like low-maintenance pets, but most turtle species can live for decades, which makes them a lifelong commitment.

8. Horses / Ponies 

Horses and ponies can be very friendly and loyal. They are intelligent and make friends with children and other ponies, as long as they are happy and treated properly. Around 1% of the UK owns a horse or a pony. 

9. Snakes 

They might terrify some people, but around 0.8% of Brits have a snake as a pet. Compared to other pets, snakes and reptiles are very safe and are less dangerous than the family dog or cat.

The biggest risk of owning a snake can be mitigated by properly washing your hands and keeping your reptile healthy and its enclosure clean!

10. Lizards

0.7% of the UK has a lizard as a pet. They're popular with children, and with families from a gothic/alternative lifestyle. 

Lizards are often the first pet reptile for a lot of people. They are the closest reptile that looks like a dinosaur and they don't carry the innate fear that snakes bring to certain people. Lizards can make great display animals and depending on the species, can be regularly handled.

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