Barking Blondes: Women enjoying the hound pound

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

Bag close one 768x1023 Barking Blondes: Women enjoying the hound poundOne of the retail successes to have survived the recession is ‘The Hound Pound’.

Maybe, during times of austerity we are feeling the need to spend on our pooches rather than on ourselves. Maybe it’s simply a need to repay our mutts for their unconditional love and loyalty. Whatever the reason, a recent survey revealed that women are more prepared to spend money on a gift for their pet, somehow equating this to cost saving.

Women also recognize the gaps in what could be a profitable market. With over 54 per cent of all households owning either a cat or a dog, there’s a ready market for pet products. Despite the recession the pet industry has seen a steady 7.5 per cent growth year on year. The pet accessory market is worth over £500 million alone.

This week, on our radio show, we talked to some female entrepreneurs who’ve made a success of building a business inspired by their beloved dogs. Many of them are also mums and all of them are dog owners.

Coincidentally, many of these women have named their products after their own hounds like Billy & Margot, Holly&Lil, Mungo & Maud, Butch & Bess, Poppy & Rufus and EdwinUK. Occasionally, the brands are named with a dogtastic theme like Black Dog Bakery, Sniffys, Poochie Bells, Woof&Brew. Each of these female-led firms brings a distinct offering to the burgeoning market.

Catering for all tastes, colour schemes, the urban dog, the country dog, small dogs, big dogs and (of course) the style of the owner too!

It used to be dog ownership really only required a collar, lead and a bowl (often an old household cracked dish).

Now there are beds, travel bags, poop bags, hand crafted collars and leads, carry bags and engraved feeding bowls all for a very pampered pooch!

There’s also a realm of retail therapy for owners too from dogtastic stationary, mugs, coat hooks, matching outfits and even the all important groovy container for muddy wellies!

Is any of this indulgence necessary? Who, other than the manufacturers, benefits from an excess of pet paraphernalia in the home ?

Do we need to feed a dog venison treats, or to colour coordinate a dog bed with ornate curtains, or have a hallway dripping with matching collars and leads for every occasion?

We argue that if 53 per cent women admit to choosing the love of their dog over their partner, then dogs are definitely influencing our lives as well as our spending habits!

Doggy day care is now almost as popular in London as it is in New York with a growth in dog walkers and creche’s.

DOG’S WELCOME signs are becoming more common in pubs and shops, with owners gratefully admiring the lengths many go to make pets feel welcome. From bowls of water to doggy menus and treats provided, it’s all part of the experience dog owners now expect. A bit like colouring books provided to entertain children in a pub.

Interestingly, while the ‘hound pound’ is booming, the ‘cat pound’ certainly isn’t purring as loudly. Perhaps it’s because there’s less to buy for a cat? Other research indicates it could be related to research showing that dog owners earn four per cent more than cat owners and even appear to be more generous even tending to tip more in restaurants.

Or maybe its an area that’s yet to be exploited. So girls, here’s an idea – what do we need to improve a moggy’s life?

Over to you.

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  • Andrew Moss

    Bloody soft. The dog has no idea what it is. Too much money in some areas. Not enough in others.

  • madgooner1

    The pet grooming salon on my road is run by sisters.

  • greggf

    Pet dogs invariably show their gratitude for their owner’s indulgences, and are worth it.

  • rss1234

    I want the 30 secs I spent skimming this article back.

  • Gizwiz

    The best thing I did for my [already very spoilt] Persian housecat was to move to the country and buy her a harness and lead! She now loves walking around our large garden and even fetches me the lead and/or howls by the front door when she wants to go out. I used to buy her Birdwatching DVDs to watch on TV but now she watches them in real life.

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