Favourite Type of Pet

Which Type of Pet Would Children Like to Own?

Favourite Pet - Schoolchild Survey - Graph from Education Quizzes

In last week’s survey we discovered which breed of dog is children’s favourite (if you want to see the results then follow this link). As a follow up question we decided to find out which type of pet children most like.

To learn the answer we asked this question: “If you could own any pet, what would it be?” Now, there almost as many types of pet as there are types of people so, sadly, we had to limit the choices. We gave ten possible answers which are hopefully the most popular. Apologies for the spider-lovers, pot-bellied pig fans, and tortoise tenders.

So, what did we discover? Well, here are the options in order from favourite to least favourite:

  1. Dog
  2. Cat
  3. Horse
  4. Rabbit
  5. Other
  6. Reptile
  7. Bird
  8. Fish
  9. Hamster
  10. Guinea Pig

Dogs are the Most Popular Pets

Dogs are man’s best friend, so they say, and the survey results confirm this. Thirty-nine percent of our respondents said they would most like to own a dog. The closest rival was the cat, on a mere sixteen percent.

Why is it that dogs are so popular? What qualities do they have which make them such sought-after pets? I can think of a few reasons:

  • They are loyal animals. A dog will never abandon its owner and will protect him with its life if need be.
  • They provide great company. Not only do dogs entertain us with their funny antics, but they also encourage us to talk to fellow dog owners so they make us social animals.
  • They have a love of life. Dogs are constantly enthusiastic, curious and full of an energy with which to play and explore. Their positive attitude rubs off on their owners.
  • They make us exercise. Sometimes you can’t be bothered going out for some physical activity. If you have a dog though you have to take it out for a walk. This helps keep us healthy and releases mood enhancing endorphins too, making us feel great.

Cats Make Good Pets

Cats are as popular as dogs you might have thought – I know I did. But the results of our survey contradict this. Cats were the second most popular choice, although they got fewer than half as many votes as dogs did. So, perhaps they need a little help on the popularity front. Here are some reasons cats make great pets:

  • Cats are mostly solitary. They don’t mind their own company and so can be left at home to amuse themselves while you go out to work. They also don’t need taking out for a walk so are low maintenance.
  • They keep your home clear of unwanted visitors. The mere presence of a cat is enough to keep mice and rats away from your home.
  • Cats are clean. As everybody knows, cats are almost always preening themselves. But it doesn’t stop there. Litter trays are much easier to clean than other animals’ toilet facilities. And if your cat spends a lot of time outside then you probably will never have to clean up their poo – they will bury it themselves.

Other Popular Animals

Our poll was dominated by cats and dogs. The other animals on our list fared poorly, with none gaining more than 9% of the vote. But let’s not forget them. Here are a few facts about each:

Horses came third in our poll, which is surprising. There are only 100,000 pet horses in the UK, compared to 7 million pet dogs. But our poll suggests many more people would have a horse if only they were not so expensive to buy and to keep.

Rabbits came fourth in our poll. I know for myself that they make great pets. I once had a house rabbit and she was great company. They are affectionate and social animals. However, they do need special care so are not for everyone.

Other kinds of pet is a very broad spectrum. So what kind of animals are there which make good pets but are not on our list? Well, gerbils, chinchillas, spiders, scorpions, snakes, stick insects and a whole host of others. Beauty, when it comes to pets, is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

Reptiles can make brilliant pets. Tortoises are probably the most familiar reptilian pet, but there are many others: terrapins and snakes spring straight to mind, but many types of lizard are good company too.

Birds came seventh in our list. There are many different types of birds to choose from. Traditional favourites, like canaries, budgerigars or parrots, and more unusual pets, like chickens, lovebirds or finches. Whichever you choose it is important to spend a good deal of time socialising with your animals outside of its cage. Birds tend to be flock animals so a lack of social interaction is hard for them to cope with.

Fish are one of the easiest pets to look after. Once you have set up their home they don’t take much maintenance and they can be stunning to watch. Just don’t expect a huge amount of companionship!

Hamsters are fantastic pets too. They are easy to look after and constantly entertain with their fun and games. I used to spend hours watching mine climb around his cage. The only negative to having a hamster is their short lifespan. Sadly they only live for between one and four years.

Guinea Pigs came tenth in our survey. They are another wonderful pet. Similar to rabbits they require special care though so must not be bought on a whim. They are social animals and need company – if not a fellow Guinea pig, then a great deal of human interaction.

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Full Results of our "Favourite Type of Pet” Survey

Here are the results from the 5,039 children who answered our question "If you could own any pet, what would it be?". The survey was conducted in the week ending 24th January 2021.

If you could own any pet, what would it be? Percentage of Respondents
Dog 39%
Cat 16%
Horse 9%
Rabbit 8%
Other 7%
Reptile 6%
Bird 4%
Fish 4%
Hamster 4%
Guinea Pig 3%

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