Number of dog owners in Germany soared in 2020

Number of dog owners in Germany soared in 2020

Demand for dogs soared in Germany last year, as coronavirus forced people to spend more time at home. The trend is causing some concern among breeders and animal rights activists. 

Dog sales rose 20 percent in Germany in 2020

It’s not difficult to see why so many people decided to become dog owners last year: under lockdown, everybody suddenly had a lot more time on their hands, making the prospect of training a puppy much less daunting. Add to that the fact that dogs bring companionship and a good excuse to get outdoors, and you’ve got a veritable doggy-mania. 

No surprise, then, that 20 percent more dogs were bought by people in Germany in 2020 compared to previous years, according to the German Canine Association (VDH). “The demand is extreme,” said the chairman of the VDH in Rhineland-Palatinate, Herbert Klemann. 

Lockdown extension has only exacerbated demand

This was already the case in mid-2020, when the first lockdown caused a spike in demand for puppies in Germany. Already in May, a number of breeders were reporting three-figure waiting lists for individual litters. 

But according to Klemann, that demand has not gone away. In fact, quite the opposite. “The demand is still there,” he said. “The fact that the lockdown has been extended is pushing the whole thing even further.” He said that breeders are currently being “bombarded” with calls from people desperate to find a new pet

Many dogs could end up in shelters

VDH spokesperson Udo Kopernick is, however, cautiously critical of the new trend. “If parents give in to their children’s desire to have a puppy but don’t actually want a dog themselves, it can go wrong,” he said.

He fears that, once the pandemic is over and people stop spending so much time at home, many dogs could end up in animal shelters. “When people go to work normally again and the children can no longer look after the dog, that becomes a problem.” 

Over the past 15 years, the number of dogs in Germany has increased from 6,5 million to 10 million. One way authorities can keep track of this is the number of registrations for dog tax they receive. “That is a dramatic growth, a big step within a very short time,” said Kopernik. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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