Why do people adopt dogs?

Format of work:

Conference Presentation

Event presented at / Journal Name:

Seventh Annual Meeting of AWRN

Speaker / Contact Author's Name:

Eleanor Jordan

Speaker / Contact Author's E-mail Address:


  • Research aim:

    To understand how differences in the motivation to adopt a dog are shaped by an adopter’s demographics and the characteristics of the dog they chose.

  • Background:

    There are an increasing number of dogs entering rehoming centres that need to find new adoptive homes. Very little is known about what motivates an individual to adopt a dog and whether these motivations show systematic variations between different dog types or adopter demographics.

  • Approach:

    Online survey of adopters completed after successfully adopting a dog.

  • Key finding:

    Motivation for adopting a dog is complex and significantly influenced by both adopter and dog characteristics. We do see distinct motivations between adopters which may be useful for improving the rehoming process.

  • Industry or policy relevance:

    Rehoming processes may want to take into account that there are distinct motivations for rehoming.

  • Route for practical application:

    It may be beneficial to ascertain an adopter’s motivation for acquiring a dog during matching.

  • Confidence in findings and next steps towards realising impact:

    Further work is needed to determine what impact these distinct motivations have on the success of adoptions.


Dogs Trust, PPL

Links to Open Access Publications or DOI:


Jordan, E. 2023. ‘Why do people adopt dogs? Exploring the role of adopter and dog demographics on motivations for getting a dogSeventh Annual Meeting of AWRN, Great North Museum, Newcastle. 18-19th January 2023.