Where Britons think you should – and should not – be allowed to take a dog
July 28th, 2023, Christien Pheby

Where Britons think you should – and should not – be allowed to take a dog

The Guardian's food writer Jay Rayner recently sparked a minor online controversy after complaining about a restaurant’s pooch-friendly policy in an otherwise positive review. In the grand tradition of normal and proportionate Twitter discourse, some users were supportive, while others argued that the dog opinion explains Brexit.

But what do the public think? New YouGov research appears to settle the debate: seven in ten Britons say it should be unacceptable to dine with dogs (69%), with just two in ten saying the reverse (21%). An emphatic victory for Rayner, then, especially since the pub from the review ended the policy anyway.

But we also asked about several other public places and modes of transport, just to cover the bases. Overall, Britons are most supportive of hounds in markets (67% acceptable vs. 29% unacceptable), in bars/pubs (62% vs. 30%), in outdoor sporting venues (55% vs. 33%); in hotels (52% vs. 37%); and in banks (49% vs. 42%).

They are least supportive of dogs in theatres (9% vs. 84%), cinemas (9% vs. 84%), indoor sporting venues (19% vs. 70%), the aforementioned restaurants (21% vs. 69%), fast food places (22% vs. 70%), and supermarkets (25% vs. 67%).

Britons are also more likely than not to think our canine friends should stay out of workplaces (39% acceptable; 48% unacceptable), convenience stores (36% acceptable; 55% unacceptable), and airplanes (29% acceptable; 60% unacceptable). They are more divided on the topic of dogs in shopping centres (47% vs. 45%). 

Dog lovers still don’t want them in restaurants

People who enjoy dogs are more likely to think it is acceptable to take them certain places. For example, 49% think it should be okay to bring them to the office, compared to 39% of the general public, and 64% think they should be welcomed into hotels compared to 52% of Britons. Not too surprising – but even dog-lovers draw the line somewhere.

For example, liking dogs doesn’t necessarily mean you think they should be taken to eateries: just 27% think it ought to be acceptable to do so. It’s the same story with cinemas (12% acceptable), theatres (11%), indoor sporting venues (24%), and airplanes (37%).

Women more likely to want dogs in public places

Breaking down the data by gender shows that women are, in general, more keen on man’s best friend. Our data shows that 75% say they like dogs compared to 69% of men; looking at YouGov Profiles data shows that 31% say they have a hound in the household compared to 27% of men.

While there are differences for most options – women, for example, are happier seeing a hound in an outdoor sporting venue (58%), a hotel (55%), or a bank - there is a wider gap when it comes to the workplace: while 35% of men think it should be acceptable to bring your dog to work, this rises to 44% of women. 

There’s a comparable difference between the proportion who’d be pleased to see a pooch in a pizzeria – 17% of men and 25% of women think dogs should be allowed in restaurants – or a library (23% men; 31% women). The number who think Shih Tzus should be allowed in shopping centres (46% men; 47% women), cinemas (9% vs 10%); theatres (8% vs. 9%) or indoor sporting venues (19% men; 19% women) are comparable for each gender.

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today. 


YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 16-19 June 2023, with a nationally/ representative sample of 2000 adults in Great Britain (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and social grade to be representative of all adults in Great Britain (18 years or older), and reflect the latest ONS population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.