Two Sides of the City: Dog-keeping Practices in Russian Urban Areas
This article examines dog–owner relations and dog ownership in Omsk, Russia. We describe typical dog-keeping practices and reveal how diverse urban environments can influence these practices. A two-stage survey was conducted in 2014 to determine the numbers and management of dogs owned. In total, some 1,583 households at the first stage of the research and 323 households at the second stage were interviewed face-to-face. About 23% of all households in Omsk owned dogs, but this proportion varied markedly for different parts of the city. In the city’s single-story area, 71.5% of households had dogs, while in the multi-story area this was only 10.8%. Dog-keeping practices were different in these areas. Significant differences in these practices were shown for almost all aspects: the selection criteria, dog feeding, veterinary treatment, dog walking, the roles of dogs, and owners’ attitudes toward them. Owners living in the single-story area demonstrated a utilitarian or functional approach to their dogs—influencing the sex, size, and the breed of the animal. Dogs often lived outside the house; they were vaccinated and taken to the veterinarian less often than dogs from the multi-story area. The owners in the multi-story area described more affectionate feelings toward their dogs. This is reflected in both the choice and treatment of the animals. We observed a larger proportion of pedigree dogs, a larger proportion of female animals, more vaccinations, and the owners making a variety of purchases for their dogs.