Wales

One in three homes in Wales now have a dog

Dogs Image copyright Dogs Trust
Image caption Dog Trust said the rise could be down to an increase in imported dogs

People in Wales are barking mad about dogs with one in three homes now owning one, new figures show.

A Pet Food Manufacturers' Association survey found 35% of households in Wales have a dog - the second highest figures in the UK behind north east England.

Overall the figures show a steep rise in the UK dog population over the past two years, with canines now exceeding cats for the first time in 21 years.

The Dog Trust says the increase could partly down to a rise in imported dogs.

The survey found Wales also had the third highest number of cat lovers in the UK with 21% of homes owning a feline.

Fashionable breeds

Michael Bellingham, PFMA chief Executive, said the main reason people choose a dog is for companionship, followed by pester power from children or other family members.

He said: "Whatever the reason, dogs can be brilliant companions, as well recognised by people in Wales.

"We've been tracking the UK pet population since 1975 and whilst there have been some peaks and troughs, dogs have never really fallen out of favour," he said.

Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said the rise in dog ownership could be down to an increase in celebrities owning fashionable breeds.

She said: "Dogs seem to be flavour of the month at the moment, every celebrity owns a fashionable breed, they grace our TV screens in soap operas and advertising campaigns and if you don't own an item emblazoned with a Dachshund or a French Bulldog you're seriously behind the curve."

But she said the charity was concerned about where the "extra" dogs have come from and was worried about large numbers of puppies being imported into the UK - both legally and illegally - fuelled by the demand for fashionable breeds.

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