Acta Vet. Brno 2019, 88: 93-101

The effect of adopter’s gender on shelter dog selection preferences

Barbora Vodičková, Vladimír Večerek, Eva Voslářová

University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Animal Protection, Welfare and Behaviour, Brno, Czech Republic

Received October 23, 2018
Accepted February 12, 2019

A retrospective analysis of dog adoption records was performed with the aim to determine the differences in preferences of male and female adopters in the Czech Republic. From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2016, 955 dogs were adopted out of a selected shelter. Significantly (P = 0.03) more dogs were adopted by women than by men (52.6% vs 47.4%, respectively). No preference (P = 0.06) for adopting a dog of the same or opposite sex as the adopter’s was found. Women adopted more (P = 0.02) small dogs and men more (P = 0.004) large dogs, while the adoption rate of medium dogs did not differ (P = 0.16) between men and women. Significantly more (P = 0.05) older dogs were adopted by women than by men. With the exception of brown dogs (adopted more often by women) and black dogs with dark markings (adopted more often by men), dogs with different coat colors were adopted equally by men and women. No difference was found between the ratio of crossbred and purebred dogs adopted by men and women. This study fills gaps in scientific knowledge on adopters’ preferences. Women are more willing to adopt dogs including those that may require special care (older dogs). However, women are less likely to adopt large dogs. The lower number of male adopters may be the reason why large dogs are often reported to be difficult to rehome. To remedy this, shelter operators should explore ways how to address men if they have large dogs available for adoption.


Canine, adoption, sex, age, size, colour.


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