New data released shows that despite 2020 turning lives and relationships upside down, the bond humans share with our four-legged companions remained the same, as nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of West Country dog owners proudly admit that their dog is their best friend. Furthermore, almost two thirds (62 per cent) say they wouldn’t be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t like dogs, highlighting how much canine companions mean to this nation of animal lovers.
The research not only shows that dogs can considerably affect how we choose a significant other, but also the important role they play in our romantic relationships, with almost a fifth (18 per cent) of dog owners confessing they prefer their dog to their partner, and nearly half (45 per cent) admitting they would rather have a night in with their four-legged friend than to go on a date.
And although the dating scene has changed dramatically with the pandemic, as many activities moved to a virtual sphere, singletons are not losing hope that they can find the perfect human match online – so long as that special someone has a dog. Almost half (47 per cent) said that they would be more likely to go on a date with someone who owns a dog and nearly a fifth (17 per cent) admitted they chose internet dates based on whether there is a dog in the photo, secretly hoping the four-legged roommate is going to join the virtual date in lockdown.
Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, said: “This research and the continuous high demand for puppies since the beginning of the pandemic suggests that we are continuing to grow closer to our four-legged companions. Dog ownership has numerous benefits, including improved physical and mental health, and in many ways dogs bring to our lives similar benefits to human partners – love, comfort and support during challenging times.
“Dog ownership isn’t completely dissimilar to a relationship in other ways – a dog needs long-term commitment which comes with compromises and changes to your life. We would urge anyone considering getting a dog to first ask themselves if they are really ready for the responsibility and commitment of having a four-legged companion – which you certainly can’t ‘ghost’ or dump if you don’t want to see them anymore.
“If you think you’re ready for this long term responsibility, it’s crucial to do thorough research into what breed will suit your lifestyle, to find your perfect match. Just like a partner, you need to understand what they need and want in life and make sure that this matches with what you can offer. Take your time, don’t force anything and remember you’re in it for the long haul – do this and you can make one dog, and yourself, very happy.”