Chart of the Month: Going to the dogs?

It’s been a long year with not a whole lot of cheery news, as COVID-19 upended plans and lives across the globe. In an attempt to bring some light-hearted fun as we hurtle towards the end of 2020, we’ve focused the Chart of the Month on some of our best friends: Dogs.

Back in November 2018 we wrote about what areas had the highest concentration of dogs per capita. At the time, some in the Infometrics office questioned the wisdom of publishing an article on the topic, worrying that it was the tail wagging the dog. But overall feedback on the article was positive – a trick we hope to repeat in 2020.

Dog numbers rise by 30,000 over the last 5 years

This time round, we’ve compared growth in dog numbers across New Zealand over the past 5 years. Overall, total registered dog numbers have risen from just under 544,000 to just over 574,000 – a 30,000 increase (1.1%pa on average). For comparison, over the same period, the human population rose by 2.0%pa on average.

The results show Christchurch City had the largest rise in the canine population, with 5.3%pa growth over the last 5 years. Queenstown was close behind with 4.7%pa on average, followed by Tauranga (3.8%pa), Selwyn (3.4%pa) and Westland (3.1%).

At the other end of the spectrum, Far North saw the largest decline in registered dogs, with an 8.5%pa drop on average. Napier City (-3.2%pa), Waipā (-2.5%) and Buller (-2.2%pa) also fell.

Labrador Retrievers the most popular breed, but not everywhere

Analysing the data, we also examined what sorts of dogs are most popular across the country. Nationally, Labrador Retrievers are the most popular pure breed of dog, accounting for just under 12% of all pure breed dogs in 2020. However, some other breeds proved to be more popular in some parts. Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed across 38 of the 67 areas across New Zealand, including all cities.

Huntaways were the most popular dog in 22 areas, including Ruapehu, Wairoa, Waitomo, and Gisborne. Border Collies took out top spot in 5 areas: Mackenzie, Central Otago, Waitaki, Buller, and Tasman. Smooth Collies squeaked through as most popular in two areas:  Clutha and Hurunui.

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