Millennials gone mad? How 2020’s dog owners are playing Spotify podcasts to pooches called Quinoa

2020 is already shaping up to be the year of the dog, with owners doing their absolute utmost to ensure their pet's comfort and happiness. Alexandra Fraser explores the top dog trends of the year – so far.

Interior design predictions are all well and good, but the thing is, that sort of trend tends to run in a circular whirlpool of ideas; a few pop up every few years, before returning to the depths for a century. While it is genuinely interesting that the kitchen table may soon be replacing the kitchen counter – no, that isn’t sarcastic, I work for Country Life – it’s not exactly news for anyone who has ever watched an upstairs-downstairs drama.

Lion House

Half-way between London and Oxford is Lion House, a converted coaching inn in beautiful condition, which is on the market for the fifth time in more than two centuries.

Property markets, too, are like Strong Man hammer games at fun fairs; they go up, they come back down, but always remain on the same gently-rising waveform trajectory, for better or for worse.

Flatcoat retrievers are full of life and fun.

Flatcoat retrievers are full of life and fun. Photograph by Sarah Farnsworth/Country Life.

Dog trends, on the other hand, fly out of left field like a cricket ball shot from a bow-and-arrow on a boomerang. And here are the best of them.

Vegan-friendly dog names are up

The first thing to note is that no animal, whoever’s house they control, should be subjected to the dietary requirements of their owners. Technically speaking, dogs can survive on a vegetarian diet if monitored very carefully – cats absolutely cannot – but it’s not responsible pet ownership if not done with extreme care. Honestly, if you’re that desperate to feed your pet a plant-based diet, you’d be better off with a tortoise.

Eight-week-old Golden Retriever puppy eating tomatoes from a garden plant.

Eight-week-old Golden Retriever puppy eating tomatoes from a garden plant.

HOWE’ER. There is no rule of nature – whether there should be is another matter entirely – preventing owners from naming their pets plant-based names.

Dog sitting and walking platform Rover.com has done some research into such names, discovering that Quinoa and Granola are up 233% in popularity.

You read that right. There are people in the world — multiple people — who have called their dog ‘Quinoa’.

Kale is close behind with an 112% increase, Chia and Flax are hovering around a 30% increase and Lentil brings up the rear with a 10% surge in popularity.

We’re forgiving Peanut for joining the list with a 36% increase, as we dearly love our office Border Terrier of the same name.


Pet podcasts on the rise

This trend I back. It’s going places and, more than anything, it shows that we Millennials really do value the happiness of our pets above all realms of human sanity. It’s why we have so many dedicated fat cat Facebook groups.

We already discovered that Dogs like listening to classical music. Now Spotify, that home of all that is good and wholesome, has created a podcast to play for your dogs when you leave the house. My Dog’s Favourite Podcast is designed to keep dogs company, and has been launched in collaboration with the RSPCA. Bravo, 2020.


Dressed-up dogs show no sign of slowing down

Precocious pug Parsley in a gorgeous jumper, matching Country Life’s property editor Annunciata Elwes. Photograph by Annunciata Elwes.

This is a subject we’ve already been fortunate enough to explore on the Country Life website, but new research has come to light in this auspicious year, so we’re looking it again. Sorry.

Brits spend an average of £200 a year on dog clothes, with the UK spending £10 billion a year on their dogs in total. One in five people actually spend £20 a month on a new outfit for their dogs. 14th January was actually National Dress Up Your Pet Day. This is a phenomenon.

dog in hat

Dogs in clothing are on the rise, and there’s nothing we can do to stop little Granola from trotting outside in her neon raincoat. Not one thing.


So, as it stands, 2020 is looking pretty good for our fluffy pals. And after all, why not? They’re the best of us.


Curious Questions: Should animals wear clothes?

Martin Fone, decidedly not an animal person, ponders whether animals should wear clothes and, indeed, what a stylish pet would