Giraffes, coatis, camels – Swiss love animals of all shapes and sizes. More than one million pets were registered in 2017, with the vast majority of people turning to cats and dogs for companionship.
The national dog database Amicus counted over 551,000 pet entries at the end of last year, 18,800 more than 2016. Dog registration is mandatory in Switzerland, so this number should be pretty accurate.
Switzerland’s estimated 1.6 million cats are more of a mystery because the registration of feline friends is voluntary. Available figures suggest the Swiss have an especially soft spot for the European domestic cat, as more than half of all registered cats fall into this category.
The European Shorthair cat is also very popular, with 121,000 registered. Other pet owners fell under the spell of the Main Coon, a solid mouser, and the British Shorthair. Owners registered 16,700 and 13,000 cats with these two pedigrees respectively.
Mutts and Chihuahuas
When it comes to dogs, the Swiss are less snobbish. A quarter are classed as “mixed breeds”. The Chihuahua, which replaced the Labrador as the most popular canine in 2017, extended its lead. There are 26,400 of these miniature dogs in Switzerland, compared with 25,200 Labs. The Yorkshire and Jack Russell Terrier followed with 19,400 and 17,000 sets of paws.
Identitas, meanwhile, kept track of less conventional choices. Excluding cats and dogs, the Swiss registered 8,400 pets in 2017, including 3,000 horses, ponies and donkeys and 1,100 ferrets. Some 500-600 parrots, turtles and new world camels – llamas and alpacas – were also registered.
The most exotic pets on the list? Seven camels, six iguanas, three coatis, two lions and giraffes, plus one lone alligator.