What makes a better pet, a dog or cat? The debate is as old as time. 

When it comes to domestic pets it seems Australians are quite particular about their preferred breed of dog but will pretty much love any type of cat.

But does having a pedigree mean you have a healthier pet?

Data from over 14,000 entries into our BudPet quiz has ranked mostly domestic cats healthier and having better diets.

Here, we’re using our BudPet data to break it down.

Quick Stats

  • Almost 19% of the 3,683 cats received a perfect diet score with the right amount of wet and dry food and a combination of preferred food types including quality-bought food and home-cooked meals. Dogs were slightly behind the cats with 16% of 10,474 dogs obtaining a perfect diet score.
  • Almost 45% of cats obtained a perfect health score, just beating the dogs of which 43.69% recorded a perfect health score. The health score reflected a number of things including the animal’s heritage, vaccinations, grooming and veterinary checkups.
  • 2.6% of cats obtained a perfect score in their physical habits including how often they exercised, how much social time they had with other cats or dogs and how much time they spent inside and outside the house. Just 0.3% of dogs received a perfect score in this area.

The top five most popular dogs in Australia in 2023 are all pedigree breeds, whilst four of the most popular cat varieties are of mixed parentage.

Cavoodles, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Maltese Crosses are the five most popular dogs and are all pedigree breeds, whilst the Domestic Short Hair cat, Domestic Medium Hair cat, the Tabby and the Domestic Long Hair cat are amongst the top 5 most popular cats with the Ragdoll being the only pedigree cat breed to make the list.

The data proves an animal will not necessarily be healthier simply because it is a pedigree.

Whilst the numbers are close, cats beat dogs in every health aspect studied.



% all cats surveyed


% all dogs surveyed

Top Diet Score of 1





Top Health Score of 1





Top Habit Score of 1





So what makes the better pet, cats or dogs?

It’s no secret — both cats and dogs offer unconditional love, affection and friendship, and they also provide therapeutic benefits for owners such as positive mental health and wellbeing.

In fact, data from MensLine Australia shared that 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements as a result of pet ownership [1].

After all, who doesn't like to cuddle a furry friend at the end of the day? 

But buying pedigree clearly does not guarantee you a healthier pet.

Apart from cost, the trend to choose pedigree dogs is partly driven by the owners’ desires to know the expected personality, traits, and needs of the dog they’re interested in. 

But that’s not enough. Ensuring they have the right food, keeping up their exercise and medical checks are all essential.

Cats can usually exercise themselves, are less interested in human food and can be easier to transport to the vet so often can prove the healthiest.

Cats can be very independent and partly look after themselves, which means they can appear to vary less between breeds. 

No matter if your newest family member is a pedigree or not, insuring your pet is the easiest way to guard yourself from unexpected vet bills. 

Pets are family members regardless of breed or cost, and owners want to ensure they can get the best treatment possible for them should anything happen.

And as for what makes the best pet – dog or cat? The debate continues.


We analysed Budget Direct BudPet quiz data from 2023 and 2024. At least 1,000 rows of data for each data point were analysed to determine the results as reported by pet owners across Australia.