Dogs in Dutch Media: Exploring Public Opinion As A Step Toward Solving Dog Welfare Problems

Susan Ophorst*, Noelle Aarts, Bernice Bovenkerk, Hans Hopster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Dogs are considered humans' best friend, but this relationship is not all puppies and sunshine. Zoonoses, biting incidents, hereditary problems, and other welfare issues can threaten the relationship, especially when humans are not aware of them. Public opinion on dogs in the densely populated Netherlands was therefore examined. Dutch newspapers and Facebook were analyzed with frame analysis. A positive view of dogs seems predominant, followed by one that sees dogs as normal, while problems with dogs are less common. That dogs are considered close to humans is exemplified by the found norms that the needs of dogs must be met, that severe penalties must be applied when humans do not respect the welfare of dogs, and that dog keepers and conditions are responsible for problems with dogs. The image of the dog as ordinary may hinder public awareness, despite the norms that emphasize the importance of dog welfare.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSociety and Animals
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2023


  • behavior modification
  • dogs in society
  • human-dog relationship
  • social influence


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