Aim: To investigate the characteristics of adult dog owners in New Zealand, and to identify factors that influence dog ownership.
Methods: A 12-page questionnaire comprising 48 questions was sent to 2,000 people throughout New Zealand randomly selected from the electoral roll.
Results: Seven hundred and twenty-seven completed questionnaires were received from 1,750 questionnaires successfully delivered, a response rate of 42%. Twenty-nine percent (211/727) of respondents currently owned dogs, and 32% (233/727) had never owned a dog; the remaining 39% (283/727) had some history of dog ownership. The level of dog ownership was influenced by the type of dwelling, region, age, marital status, presence and age of children, and type of personality.
Conclusions: Dog owners in New Zealand are likely to be aged between 18 and 55 years, educated to secondary school level or above, live in a rural or suburban area, be married or in a de-facto relationship with children over the age of one year, and consider themselves to be of positive character.