Dogs. Referred to as man's best friend, they have coexisted with us for thousands of years. From the humid and heated habitat of the deserts of Egypt to the lavish and luxurious Tudors, dogs have stood beside us as a vital aspect of our everyday lives and in the increasingly mechanised world of 2024, do our furry companions really provide the once adored loyalty they we said to have or have they also accepted the detachment that the 21st century is increasingly provided.

In 2023 alone there were 16 fatal dog attacks across England and Wales. A worryingly large increase from the 1 of 1990. This increase is not unprecedented though. A decade ago, we showed our canine companions more love, attention and took them outside more often. However with the isolation brought by the Covid Pandemic, many dogs have, due to  thwarted social interaction, have become aggressive and territorial. This however cannot be blamed on just the recent restricted activity of dogs. Online working and digitalisation have meant we have ignored many of our once beloved pets. 

130,000. That is the number of abandoned dogs every year or given away to shelters. This figure is only a small view of the unimaginable number of dogs left to shelters mainly due to many families simply being unable to support the costs of owning a dog in recent years. Yet not always this is the case as people have begun to view their dogs as burdens if not even problems.

This is the dawn of a serious issue shared by most large canines. Aggression. In north east London last year, a little girl's head was ‘matted with blood’ after the dog attack in Mansfield Park. The Cane Corso, a large breed of Mastiff, ranging from 45 - 60 Kg charged the young victim before viciously mauling her head. Usually reserved and calm, this behaviour has been seen to be shared by many other similar dog attacks across the UK. 

So let us conclude. Is it really a change in behavioural patterns in dogs due to recent events or a gradual change in their social behaviour in general. I say a combination of both. This change is mostly the result of rapidly changing lifestyles as the once blissful and treat filled life of our companions has become for most a thing of the past. However with a bit more attention, a few more scratches and a little more training, dogs can remain man's best friend.