Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Millionaires are dog people

There's a reason the wealthy prefer canines to cats, even more than the average household does.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 28, 2012 3:36PM

This post comes from Robert Frank at partner site CNBC.


CNBC logoDogs and millionaires have a lot in common. They are relentless opportunists (especially when it comes to rewards). They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They defend their turf. And in general, they don't like cats.


Image: Dog (© Alley Cat Productions/Brand X/Corbis)Perhaps that explains a new survey that shows that millionaires are far more dog-friendly than the rest of Americans.


According to a study by Spectrem Group, 58% of millionaire pet owners have a dog. Only 37% own a cat. Only 3% keep fish, 2% have birds and 2% have a horse.


Those stats are far more canine-leaning than the rest of the country. According to the Humane Society, 39% of U.S. households own a dog, compared with 33% of households that own a cat.


Why have millionaires gone to the dogs?


Jennifer Cona, a trust and estates attorney and partner with Genser Subow Genser & Cona in New York, does a lot of work on pet trusts. She said that of all the pet trusts she's worked on, 90% are for dogs and only 10% are for cats. (She's written only one parakeet trust.)


She said dogs provide one thing especially important to the wealthy: "unconditional love."


"You don't get that from a cat," she said. "Dogs are like children for some families, except they don't mess up in college or run off with money. Sometimes it's easy to see why dogs are the favorite child."


Plus, she says, millionaires know that dogs don't love them for their money.


"It's unbiased love, and money doesn't enter into the equation," she said. "That's important."

Millionaires show their love for their dogs in part by their spending. One-quarter of millionaire pet owners spend more than $1,000 a year on their pets every year, the Spectrem study said, while more than half spend more than $500 a year.


Many would say those numbers are understated, given all the diamond dog collars, chateaubriand dog foods and booming dog spas in evidence these days. Not to mention the medical bills.


The survey showed that 34% of pet owners spend money on grooming, while only 6% spend on "sweaters, accessories, outfits and costumes."


More than half of millionaire pet owners spend money on teeth cleaning for their pets. More than 16%, meanwhile, said they would spend money on reconstructive knee surgery, hip surgery and "anti-anxiety, anti-depression" medication for their pets.


Money, I suppose, can't buy happiness -- even for dogs.


Why do you think millionaires prefer dogs. Security? Loyalty?


More on CNBC and MSN Money:

Nov 28, 2012 6:09PM
I own a dog, so I'm already on the road to riches.
Nov 28, 2012 7:19PM
I'm sure millionaires draw no correlation between money and their dog/s until they get the vet bill.  They like dogs for the same reasons anyone else does.  They're loyal companions & they're always happy to see you.
Nov 28, 2012 5:54PM
Well, 42% of millionaires don't own a dog.  So what if 58% do?  It proves nothing and means nothing.
Nov 28, 2012 8:22PM
I'm a millionaire and I own a dog.Yep, you got it right.
Nov 28, 2012 10:01PM
If you're looking for a friend get a dog.  Especially true for millionaires. Everyone else is just after your money.
Nov 29, 2012 5:29PM
Wonder if it might have anything to do with millionaires generally having larger houses and yards, meaning more room for a dog...?  I've always adored Irish wolfhounds, but trying to keep one in my little city house on its postage-stamp lot would be cruel in the extreme.

Luckily, I also love cats, and there's always room for a cat.  :)
Nov 29, 2012 12:54PM

As the Petrendologist who travels throughout the country regularly, meeting and providing the best pet advice to the wealthy, middle class and struggling pet owners, I  know that most pet owners consider pets as family members and want to give them the best food, healthcare, services and equipment that they can buy. The difference between the wealthy (the haves) and the rest (the have-nots) is that that former can easily afford the best essentials and highest ranking service providers for their animals.  However, that does not mean the pets of the wealthier are any happy or healthier than the pets of those who do not have as much. For example, pet owners of all socio-economic classes spoke out against Romney’s treatment of his dog’s travel accommodations on a family vacation.  Just goes to show you that more money a pet owner has doesn’t mean he is a better pet owner. And lastly, whatever your preference (dogs, cats, birds or other) animals are superb companions, especially dogs.  I have all three.  It is this social aspect of dog ownership that makes theme such a grat fit for our lifestyle and our society-they think of us as part of their pack and we thank of them as part of our family. As a result, we want to provide for them when we pass on. -Charlotte Reed


Dec 1, 2012 3:03PM
I can prove to anyone that your dog loves you more than your wife.  Lock them both in the trunk of your car on a hot day for 2 hours.  Then open the trunk.  Who is happier to see you?  Your dog or your wife?  Case closed.
Nov 28, 2012 7:39PM
Dogs are awesome, cats suck.  Pretty simple.
Nov 29, 2012 5:51PM
Really, this is a lame article from a retarded person. Poor people have dogs too. Most people love dogs over cats. Cats will come to you when they want something, dogs will be by your side whether they want something or not. Dogs will love you for scraps off of your table and they are much more intelligent then the dumb cats.
Nov 28, 2012 5:37PM

Millionaires are also more likely to strangle hookers, cheat on their wives, and be rude obnoxious A holes. 


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.