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There are approximately ten million dogs kept in the UK [Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA) 2014].
There are many breeds and types of dog, all varying in size, body shape and personality. On average, dogs live for around twelve years, but many live for much longer.
Owning and caring for a dog is great fun and immensely rewarding. But it's also a big responsibility.
If you own or are responsible for a dog, even on a temporary basis, you're required under the Animal Welfare Act to care for him/her properly.
It's important for people owning or caring for a dog know about dog laws, to find out more please download our Dogs and the law information (169 KB).
Dogs have very complex needs so looking after them well can be challenging.
There is no one 'perfect' way to care for all dogs because every dog and every situation is different. It's up to you how you look after your dog, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all your dog's needs.
You can also download our booklet: How to take care of your dog (pdf 2.08MB).
It's generally accepted that the common ancestor of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is the wolf.
Domestication of the dog began around 15,000 years ago and during this process humans selected desirable traits such as coat colour and leg length.
This selection process has resulted in over 400 different breeds of dog. Why not view our full Dog Factfile (PDF 48KB).
Supporting teachers, carers and youth justice professionals in developing responsible young citizens.