International News

German pet population up 1 million in 2020

Cats remained the most popular pets in Germany in 2020, making up 52% of the population.

Overall, 47% of German households included a pet in 2020, an increase of nearly one million animals over 2019, according to WZF GmbH, organizer of Interzoo pet trade fair. Last year, 34.9 million dogs, cats, small mammals, and pet birds lived in Germany, along with fish and aquarium species not included in the count.

“Although the growth in dog and cat numbers is of course especially pleasing to note, it’s not entirely unexpected,” Georg Müller, chairman of the Pet Supplies Industry Association (Industrieverband Heimtierbedarf, IVH, said in a press release. “The trend toward four-legged animals, dogs and cats, in particular, has continued for many years, and it has definitely received a boost from the unusual home office situation during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. But our survey shows that across all pet species, the main reasons for getting a pet are either the circumstances being right or to obtain a replacement following the death of a previous pet. Regardless of what the definitive reason is for acquiring an animal companion, the focus should always be on the well-being of the animal and its needs.”

Cats remained the most popular pets in Germany in 2020, making up 52% of the population. During the ongoing pandemic, 15.7 million cats cohabitated with humans in 26% of German households. Dogs chased cats as the second most populous German pet. In 2020, 10.7 million dogs lived in the country making up 21% of households.

  • 5 million small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and mice) – 5% of households
  • 3.5 million pet birds – 3% of households
  • 1.8 million aquariums – 4% of households
  • 1.4 million fishponds with pet fish – 3% of households
  • 1.3 million terraria – 2% of households
Demographics of German pet ownership

Last year, 66% of all German families with children had a pet, while 13% had two or more species. Likewise, the majority of German pets live with multiple humans.

  • 34% – two humans in household
  • 35% – three or more
  • 31% – single-person households

The average ages of German pet owners remained stable in 2020.

  • 25% – over 60 (2019: 24%)
  • 22% – 50 to 59 (2019: 22%)
  • 19% – 40 to 49 (2019: 20%)
  • 16% – 30 to 39 (2019: 16%),
  • 17% – 29 or younger (2019: 17%)

To assess the German pet population, IVH and ZZF commissioned market research institute Skopos in autumn 2020 to conduct a telephone survey including 7,000 participants.

Source: Petfood Industry