2020: The Year in Pet News

2020: The Year in Pet News

A woman carries her dog while wearing a surgical mask to prevent COVID-19 infection.A woman carries her dog while wearing a surgical mask to prevent COVID-19 infection.
A woman carries her dog while wearing a surgical mask to prevent COVID-19 infection.A woman carries her dog while wearing a surgical mask to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Table of Contents:

  1. Pet Lovers Inspire a Surge of Adoptions
  2. Dogs Play a Role in Fighting COVID-19
  3. A New Study Suggests Cats Are Friendly After All
  4. The American Kennel Club Adds Three New Breeds
  5. The Scottish Deerhound Takes Best in Show
  6. A Year in the Life of Pet Parents


Most of us are probably glad to kiss 2020 goodbye. An unprecedented pandemic and a protracted election season have both made for a year to forget. Where pets are concerned, however, 2020 wasn’t all that bad. Here are a few highlights from the year in pet news.

Pet Lovers Inspire a Surge of Adoptions

COVID-19 has dominated the headlines this year and the vast majority of the news has been bad. For many of us, pets have provided the pandemic with a silver lining. We’re not just spending more time with our dogs, cats, and other pets, but heading out to shelters and adoption centers in droves. In Philadelphia, the director of Philly Paws reported a threefold increase in adoptions compared to 2019 and The Today Show reported a 93% increase nationwide.

Want to learn more about adopting a shelter pet? Check out this video from our visit to the Delaware Humane Association:

Dogs Play a Role in Fighting COVID-19

Vaccines against COVID-19 are being distributed and administered across the globe, but the virus promises to remain a fundamental part of daily life for some time. Scientists are hopeful that dogs can play an important role in detecting COVID-19 and controlling its spread. At the University of Pennsylvania, a team of researchers has worked to determine whether or not dogs can detect the virus by scent. COVID-19-detecting dogs could soon join the ranks of hardworking pups like service animals and other types of detection dogs.

A New Study Suggests Cats Are Friendly After All

“Dog people” have long contended that cats are aloof, unfriendly, and even outright standoffish. A recent study suggests that they’re actually far more affectionate than they seem. Researchers at Oregon State University found evidence that cats form bonds with people the same way dogs do.

The American Kennel Club Adds Three New Breeds

The American Kennel Club recognizes nearly 200 breeds and they added another three to their list of registered dogs this year:

  • Barbet: This active, affectionate water dog was first developed in 16th-century France.
  • Belgian Laekenois: An intelligent pup, this breed is the least common of the four “Belgian shepherd dogs.”
  • Dogo Argentino: The “Argentinian Mastiff” looks a bit like a large pit bull and competes in dog shows as a member of the Working Group.

Browse PetPlace’s Breed Guide to learn more about dozens of AKC-recognized dogs.

The Scottish Deerhound Takes Best in Show

Though it ranks just 149th on the AKC’s most-popular breed list, the Scottish Deerhound was top dog at the National Dog Show this Thanksgiving. After winning the Hound Group competition, Claire claimed the title of Best in Show in what will hopefully be the one and only socially-distanced interaction of this annual event. The field was a little slimmer this year, but Claire still had to beat more than 600 competitors to take the title.

Check out PetPlace’s interview with John O’Hurley and David Frei, the hosts of the National Dog Show.

A Year in the Life of Pet Parents

It was an exciting year for PetPlace’s readers. Take a look at the results of our recent survey to learn more about how pet parents like you spent 2020.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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