Raise the Woof! Northern dogs have the most soul

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What music does your dog prefer? What, you don’t know? Isn’t it time you considered your dog’s feelings before you tune the radio to your favourite station? And why don’t we have more doggie artists in the charts? We’d buy the Rolling Bones next album, we’d howl along to a Muddy Holly Tribute band, we’d let Bruce Spring(er)stein be the boss, And imagine a collaboration by David Bow-wowie and Freddie Purrcury? But no, the charts are full of humans, but the dogs are still lapping it up!
• 50% of pets go crazy to certain genres of music
• Classic rock is the top music choice for a nation of dogs
• Musicians make link between pet ownership and improved mental health
It’s official: pets love music as much as humans do – and different animals have their favourite genres they react to. New research reveals that dogs are born to be wild for classic rock (37%), classical cats like to curl up with orchestral sounds (31%) and those hipster hamsters love a bit of rap (42%).
The findings from a national survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by Rebecca Downes Music found that 50% of pet owners say their beloved four-legged friends get excited by music. Some dance around, some jump up and down or just get over-excited. Just like humans.
The national research is the result of a project hatched between UK singer-songwriter Rebecca Downes, her record label and Schlesinger Research. Rebecca is also a music coach and educator – and through lockdown she became acutely aware from her students of the wellbeing link between mental health and pets. Many of her students, who were focusing on creative arts and song-writing battled with mental health – but they often had a more positive outlook during lockdown if they had a close bond with a pet. As a result, Rebecca and her management team decided to test this idea more broadly through national research.
Whilst the research showed people’s pets reacted positively to different genres of music, the data also polled musicians and found that 76% struggled with mental health – but a huge 94% of those that had pets said they brought positive wellbeing and creative influence into their creative routines. And the most popular choice of pet for musicians was a dog.
Rebecca Downes comments: “As a songwriter, music coach and teacher, every day I see the mental health challenges that young musicians face. The succession of lockdowns, which threatened the very existence of live music – coupled with the current cost of living crisis – makes the life of a musician today precarious. A strong connection with animals does help, I experience it myself with my beloved dog Ralphie who brings a loving smile to my face whatever kind of day I’m having. From our research, it’s great to see dogs also love rock music – it is, after all, a genre of music that’s deeply rooted in British culture. Even today we’re seeing the rock genre rise again, with a new generation of British bands crashing back into the charts. Ultimately, whether a human or a dog, who can’t react to a great anthem, a singalong chorus or an infectious guitar riff to lift the day?”
So where in the UK are you most likely to find the UK’s rock dogs?
Rock venues and festivals in Scotland, Wales and Humberside may want to start thinking about making their venues pet-friendly – because that’s where the nation’s ‘rock dogs’ live. In these regions, around one in four pet owners said the soaring guitar anthems and catchy choruses of rock music made it the music of choice for their four-legged friends:

• Yorkshire / Humberside – 27%
• Scotland – 23%
• Wales – 23%
• North East – 22%
• London – 21%
• East – 15%
• North West – 14%
• South West – 14%
• West Midlands – 14%
• East Midlands – 13%
• South East – 13%

Dave Ritchie, Director at Scotland’s annual rock event Wildfire Festival said: “Rebecca Downes shared the research with me and, as a pet lover myself, I was pleased to see that Scottish dogs had great taste in music. At Wildfire Festival, we have been dog-friendly for some time now. Most years, the highland sheep wander through the festival as well, and each year our festival T-shirts feature a favourite animal. When people bring their beloved dogs to Wildfire Festival, they add to the friendliness of the event and, sometimes, those rock dogs get more love and cuddles from music fans than some of the bands. I’ve spent many years working with young bands – I was once a creative in a band myself – and I have no doubt that a loving bond with animals helps one’s wellbeing and sense of connection with the world. To find out now that dogs love rock music too completes the circle marvellously.”
And a final twist from the research, at a time when more women are shaping the rock genre today. The research also corrected the old adage that a man’s best friend is a dog. In Britain today, it is women that are more likely to have a dog (31% Vs. 28%) and are also more likely to cite wellbeing benefits of owning one (91% Vs. 84%).

The research was conducted for Rebecca Downes Music Ltd among a nat. rep. sample of 2,000 adults in February 2023.

Birmingham-based Rebecca Downes is a fully independent artist creating original blues/rock music with her co-songwriter Steve Birkett and releasing it on her own label Mad Hat Records. Rebecca was voted Female Vocalist and Emerging Artist of the Year at the British Blues Awards 2016 and Female Blues Vocalist of the Year in the FORM UK Blues Awards 2018.
Rebecca is also a music teach, coach and mentor for young artists. She is also an advocate on wellbeing, inclusion and diversity and she is a campaigner for dementia awareness.

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