Canadian Dog Owners Rely Primarily on Breeders and Shelters

Dog owners in British Columbia are more likely to have acquired a pet for recreational purposes, such as exercising or walking more.

Vancouver, BC [February 26, 2021] – Canadian dog owners cite companionship as the main reason for having a pet in their home, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 33% of Canadians say they currently have a dog in their home, including 41% of those aged 18-to-34 and 40% of Albertans.

Almost half of Canadian dog owners (47%) have had a pet in their home for five years or more. Just over one-in-ten (11%) have been dog owners for less than a year.

More than seven-in-ten Canadian dog owners (71%) say they decided to get a pet for companionship, while 42% acknowledge acting because a family member wanted one.

More than a third of Canadian dog owners (37%) were looking for fun and entertainment in a pet, while 28% wanted one for recreational purposes (such as exercising or walking more) and 14% got the animal for protection.

Dog owners in British Columbia are more likely to say that they acquired a pet for recreational purposes (42%), while dog owners in Alberta are more likely to cite protection (23%). 

There are some significant differences in the way Canadian dog owners acquired their pets. More than two-in-five (43%) got them directly from a breeder, including 56% of those who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2019 federal election.

More than one-in-four Canadian dog owners (27%) adopted or rescued their pet from a shelter, including 42% of those who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the last federal ballot.

Significantly fewer Canadian dog owners purchased their pet at a store (13%, but rising to 30% in Quebec) or received it as a gift (10%, but rising to 24% in Atlantic Canada).

“Female Canadian dog owners are more likely to have visited a shelter to get their pet (30%) than men (24%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Conversely, while 21% of men bought their dog at a pet store, only 6% of women took the same course of action.”

Across the country, 97% of Canadian dog owners claim to be “very satisfied” or “moderately satisfied” with their dog, and 80% say their pet has been spayed or neutered.

More than three-in-four Canadian dog owners (76%) believe it is unacceptable to physically discipline a dog—including 86% of women and 85% of those aged 55 and over.

A final question defined the soul as “the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life.” Across the country, 85% of Canadian dog owners say that their dog has a soul, while 7% disagree and 7% are not sure.

Results are based on an online survey conducted from February 18 to February 20, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.