Understanding the dog population in the Republic of Ireland: insight from existing data sources?
14 July 2022
08T15:36:17Z September 2022
Background: Reliable information about national pet dog populations is an important contributor to informed decision-making, both by governments and national dog welfare organisations. In some countries, there is an improved understanding of aspects of the national pet dog population, but as yet limited published information is available in Ireland. The current study reviews the utility of existing data to inform our understanding of recent changes to the pet dog population in Ireland, including both biological and organisational processes. Results: Based on national data on dog licencing and microchipping registration, pet dog numbers have remained relatively stable in recent years (ie prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). Since 2015, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of dogs managed through dog control centres. Although the completeness of the data are likely variable, there appears to be substantial, and increasing, number of dogs moving from Ireland to other countries, including UK, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Singapore. We also note an increase (albeit much smaller) in the number of dogs being moved into Ireland. Conclusions: This study highlights the challenges faced when using existing national data to gain insights into the dog population of Ireland. The linking of existing national databases (individual dog identification, dog licencing, dog control statistics) has the potential to improve both the representativeness and accuracy of information about the Irish pet dog population. In the next phases of our work, we will focus on the work of dog welfare organisations, given both the increased role played by these organisations and the substantial public funding that has been committed in this sector.
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Type of Material
Irish Veterinary Journal
Copyright (Published Version)
2022 The Authors
Status of Item
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License