THEY say dogs are man’s best friend, and in the southernmost Spanish region of Andalucia, the old adage seems to be backed up by statistics.
There are 1,374,000 dogs registered in Andalucia, according to the latest figures from the Spanish Network of Registered Animals (REIAC).
Meanwhile, there are only 1,071,000 children under 14 in the region (Spanish Institute of National Statistics), meaning dogs outnumber children by almost 30%.
The phenomenon is believed to be down to low birth rates, the aging population and changing values.
While a furry friend is a responsibility it does not compare to the lifestyle changes and economic strain of having children.
According to research by SafeWise, a dog will cost $1082, or €987.99 in the first year.
In comparison, a baby costs almost four times as much coming in at $3739, or €3414.12.
It comes after data from ConsumerAffairs revealed 58% of millennials prefer keeping pets to having children, a number which jumps to 63% for cat owners.
As the cost of living continues to rise, the number of young people choosing dogs over children may also increase.