UK & World News
Pets Considered Part Of The Family, Census Shows
The British family has changed in modern times - with pets widely considered to be much-loved members, according to new research.
The findings from Ancestry.co.uk, the family history website, show 90% of pet owners think of their animal as part of the family.
A third (33%) of those even claim to prefer their pets to real life members of their family, with one in six (15%) considering their pet more important than their cousin.
Dog owners are the most keen to make their pet a bona fide family member, with 16% choosing to include the animal in the 2011 Census.
A number of these even listed their dog as their "son" on the official form.
But this animal infatuation is by no means a 21st century phenomenon, with pets also listed in the 1911 Census.
For example, Arthur and Elizabeth Delve from Smethwick found it fit to record the existence of their "faithful Irish terrier Biddy". Biddy, it was noted, was a "magnificent watch and a demon on cats and vermin".
Another canine in the 1911 Census is 'Roger the Watchdog' who lived in Dulwich. His journalist owner James Little listed his age at five and a rather fitting profession of "looking after the house".
Paintings of pets were particularly popular in Victorian Britain when wealthy women were known to sit for pictures with perfectly groomed lap dogs.
This trend persists today with one in 20 owners confessing they have commissioned a professional portrait of their animal.
Many British people also leave behind a more permanent token of affection.
Nearly one in 10 (9%) of dog owners love the animal so much that they are planning on leaving money or assets to them in their will.
:: Ancestry.co.uk commissioned ICM Research to question 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over this month about attitudes towards pets. Of these, 1,172 were pet owners.