There are an estimated 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. today – and more than a few of them are featured in adorable Instagram posts. During a 101-day period, we fetched 10 million #DogsofInstagram posts – which amounts to roughly 99,010 photos posted every single day. We analyzed where they were coming from, and discovered that in the U.S., the West Coast posts the most.
In top spot Washington state, pet parents share 382 posts for every 100,000 residents – nearly 11 times more than last-place Missouri! Oregon, Hawaii, and California closely follow Washington, and Alaska claims seventh place. Save for Colorado, states in the Northeast comprise the rest of the top 10: New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. On the other hand, the regions with the fewest pup-arazzi are in the Midwest and parts of the South.
BREED ALL ABOUT IT: These Dogs Dominate IG
The loveable Labrador retriever has been the most popular dog in America for 25 years, according to the AKC – and that Lab love holds true on social media too. With almost 40 mentions per 1,000 posts, Labs are the top dog on Instagram. German shepherds (the No. 2 dog in America), bulldogs, pit bulls, and golden retrievers (the No. 3 dog in America) round out the top five.
Many of the breeds featured on Instagram reflect the growing popularity of adoptions. Every year, Americans adopt approximately 1.4 million dogs from shelters. Only one-quarter of the dogs in shelters are purebred, which helps explain why the all-American mutt (aka “mixed breed” or “Heinz 57”) ranks eighth on the list. Pit bulls, dachshunds, Border collies, and Rottweilers are all among breeds that commonly populate shelters.
Who’s the Top Dog in Every U.S. State?
When it comes to the favored breed in America overall, it’s clear that Labs rule and other breeds drool. And indeed, Labrador retrievers take the cake (or scarf it down when your back is turned) in 17 states, especially within the South and a few Midwestern states. However, other areas have different favorites – and they’re not necessarily what you’d expect.
German shepherds dominate in much of the West, including Washington and Oregon. Golden retrievers fetch acclaim in Vermont, Virginia, Mississippi, and Colorado. Pit bulls are prized in seven states across the Midwest and Southwest, while bulldogs have big fans spread across the country – from California to New York, Michigan to Florida.
North Dakota is the only state where Rottweilers rule, Wyoming alone loves the Maltese best, and Alaska is the sole state that favors huskies. The Alaskan husky – which is a mix and not considered an official breed – is the most popular sled dog breed.
Bark for Joy: Sentiment of #DogsofInstagram Posts
The same pups that melt our hearts with their cuteness one minute can drive us crazy the next when they chew our shoes, wake us at the crack of dawn, or track mud through the house. (Doggone it!). Modern pet parents share it all on social media – from the adorable to the deplorable. Pics of shame-faced pooches with placards around their necks detailing their crimes are often widely shared.
By analyzing the types of words that Instagrammers include in their #DogsofInstagram posts, we were able to determine how positive their posts were. On Instagram, the breeds that unleashed the highest average sentiment scores were Irish setters, Akitas, bichon frisés, and golden retrievers.
Dog Days: When Do People Post Pet Pics?
When do proud pet parents post the most pics of their dogs? Weekends and evenings see an uptick of #DogsofInstagram posts. Almost a third of the pics we examined (32.7%) were posted on a Saturday or Sunday. Why? Unless you’re employed by one of the 8 percent of American companies that allow employees to bring their dogs to work, chances are your pooch stays home or heads to daycare during the weekdays rather than sitting pretty for snapshots.
Additionally, many people reserve Instagram for action shots or wow-worthy pics. Weekends and evenings are prime time for walks, hikes, and play, which means plenty of Insta-opportunities. They also offer a little more time to brush that fur, tilt the party hat slightly to the left, and snap 352 photos in hopes of getting one that’s not a blur of tail-wagging excitement.
Bark Cheese! Common Filters for Dog Pics
Let’s face it: Most dogs are so cute they really don’t need a filter. That’s probably why over 6 in 10 of the #DogsofInstagram posts we analyzed were straight shots (no filter). But perhaps you’re the owner of a notoriously tough-to-photograph black dog. Or maybe you just want to punch up your dog’s coat color or accentuate his big brown eyes.
When they do use a filter, most pet owners on Instagram turn to Clarendon, Lark, Ludwig, or Juno to achieve the perfect shot. Of the pics that were enhanced, more than a quarter were boosted with the Clarendon filter. Clarendon is the first filter in the app by default – but it’s also an all-purpose filter that boosts color. Lark brightens images, Ludwig intensifies colors and shadows, and Juno adds richness and heats up warm colors.
Central Bark: Dog Park Check-Ins on Instagram
The first dog park appeared in the United States in 1979. Today, dog parks are the fastest-growing type of city park – and there are around 1,200 off-leash parks dedicated to pooches. Although Portland, OR, has the most dog parks per capita (5.7 for every 100,000 residents), Hollywood, CA, sees the most dog park check-ins on Instagram. (Portland ranks 18th on the list.)
Frequently Instagrammed dog parks are located across the country. Manhattan, Colorado Springs, San Diego, and Hoboken, NJ, round out the top five cities list. Multiple cities in California, New York, Washington, and Texas made the list, too. Who shares the most posts of pets romping at the dog park? Hollywood, CA, and Manhattan, NY, are neck and neck for first place.
A Few of Our Favorite #DogsofInstagram
As our analysis reveals, dogs have taken Instagram by storm. When it comes to #DogsofInstagram posts, West Coast dog lovers dominate the social media app. Labs, German shepherds, and bulldogs lead the pack for most Instagrammed breeds.
Owners who share pics of Irish setters write most enthusiastically about their canine companions. Weekends and evenings are prime time for sharing pooch snaps – and most #DogsofInstagram posts have no filter.
The benefits associated with dog ownership are virtually endless. For instance, living with a pooch can improve your mood and make your children healthier and more empathetic. But even if you don’t own a pet, simply looking at cute photos of dogs can bring a smile to your face and even boost your productivity at work! Keep snapping, keep scrolling, and keep double-tapping – long live #DogsofInstagram posts.
We analyzed 10 million Instagram posts that included #DogsofInstagram between Feb. 3, 2016 and May 13, 2016. We eliminated duplicates and posts that were not geotagged. That brought the number down to 1,048,575. Then we excluded posts from outside the U.S., and we were left with 532,142. Our analysis focused on these U.S.-based posts that contained geographic information.
We know people have a lot of nicknames for different breeds, so when we analyzed the posts, we grouped them as best we could: For instance, we put “Rottweiler,” “rottie,” and “rotty” together and “yorkie” and “Yorkshire terrier” together.
Our sentiment analysis used TextBlob, an open source text processing library written in Python. It performs natural language processing (NLP) tasks to categorize parts of speech, words, and strings of words as positive, neutral, or negative.
Instagram’s time stamps are in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). We converted them to Eastern Standard Time by subtracting four hours.
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