Can Owning a Pet Be Considered a Hobby? (No And Yes)

Pets are loyal companions, especially if you live alone.

For that reason, many people opt to acquire a pet over finding a hobby.

See Also: What Additional Animal Hobbies Are Available?

But, Can Owning a Pet Be Considered a Hobby?

Generally, no. But it can depend on the number of pets you keep and your approach. Dogs – perhaps the most sought-after group of pets – have been man’s companions longer than any other pet. The relationship between man and the dog is beyond the mere domestication of a wild animal. It’s a friendship, to be precise. Would you view this friendship as a hobby? I don’t think so.

Hobby Definition

What is a hobby, to begin with?

Oxford Dictionary defines it as any “activity done regularly in your leisure time, for pleasure.”

There are very few motivations behind a hobby other than the sheer pleasure of it.

Clearly, keeping a pet can’t be placed in the same group with such leisure activities as collecting themed objects, engaging in artistic and creative pursuits, or playing a sport.

According to the IRS, something is a hobby if it majorly falls in one, two, or all three of the following categories:

  1. it’s a SPORT
  2. a RECREATIONAL activity
  3. and/or a PLEASURE .

See Also: Bucket List Of Hobbies From A – Z

Three Reasons Why Pet Ownership Isn’t A Hobby

Here’s why pet keeping can’t be a hobby:

1. You Don’t Keep Pets for PLEASURE

All domestic animals, not just the fluffy dogs and jumpy kittens, are emotional and intelligent living beings that don’t just deserve proper care but responsible upbringing as well.

Providing your pets with optimal care isn’t optional, neither is it an interest you’d pursue for the sheer pleasure of it.

Many pet owners see this care as an essential thing to do for conscious ownership.

2. It’s not a RECREATIONAL activity

Most people keep pets because they adore them, not because they consider it a recreational activity.

Pets typically get used to their owner’s behavior and lifestyle.

That’s why it’s recommended that you choose consciously the kind of pet best for your space, personality, and your free time.

Cats, for example, are mostly independent compared to dogs (so they are suitable for a relatively busy owner) but they seem to enjoy larger homes.

While dogs always require your availability to play and exercise, you can’t view these activities as a recreational endeavor.

Cats too demand your presence – albeit to a less extent – regarding their hygiene, socialization, and hygiene, but they can’t be recreational activities either.

3. People Who Keep Pets Aren’t Different

If we were to look at pet-keeping as a hobby, it would mean people who go for pets are somewhat different from the majority of us.

See Also: What Are The Benefits Of Dog Related Hobbies?

Yet anyone can acquire a pet, particularly one that matches their lifestyle.

Do you think it would be unfair to think dog and cat keepers are different from the rest of us?

I don’t think so.

Situations Where Pet Keeping Would Qualify as A Hobby

There are a few instances pet keeping would be considered a real hobby:

1. You’re A Dog Trainer

You're A Dog Trainer
Master and her obedient (rhodesian ridgeback) dog

Once you start training certain breeds of dogs you’re strongly passionate about, your relationship with them shifts from simple friendship/companionship to a clearly defined hobby.

Why so?

See, unless you are a professional dog trainer pursuing it solely to earn income, dog training is something you’d only pursue as a recreational or pleasurable activity.

If you actively train your dogs and participate in dog shows, or you are a committed ethical dog breeder equipped with great knowledge of numerous dog breeds, or you’ve always volunteered at your local animal shelters, you are a hobbyist rather than a compassionate pet lover.

2. You Keep Lots of Pets

It’s not uncommon for aquarium enthusiasts to refer to their interests in fish keeping as hobbies.

If you have lots of aquariums at home or wherever else you chose to keep them, there’s absolutely no issue with viewing this activity as a hobby.

However, if you own just one or two of them, it would be quite strange to put it on your resume, wouldn’t it?

You could put there something like pet/animal keeping and/or care but your potential employer might ask you to expound on it a little.

If you only own one dog or cat, it might get a bit awkward for you.

So if you are looking forward to turning your love for pets into a hobby and hopefully add on your credentials, you should think of dealing in a bunch of them.

3. Hobbies Are Good for Your Health, So Is Pet Keeping

Perhaps this is where pet keeping comes closest to a hobby. The health benefits of pets stem from the fact that they are loyal companions, always!

Mounting evidence suggests that pet keeping is good for your general wellbeing.

A study conducted by American Psychological Association found that the mere thought of your pets can calm you down if they were unsettled.

Animals that constantly surround their owners also affect their mental state and mood.

Although many hobbies are pursued for this reason, pets bring it naturally with minimal investment.

Those who take their pets out for a walk or exercise, for example, are more likely to stay fit than those who don’t.

One of the least-mentioned perks of pet keeping is that fluffy animals do help reduce the risk for allergies.

Increasing evidence suggests that exposure to the fur produced by pets in childhood means less likelihood of developing any of the common inflammatory diseases like asthma, eczema, or allergies.


First off, animal fur is one of the top allergens known to man, but they are impact reduces if you were exposed to it earlier in life.

Your body’s immune system tends to train itself to be anti-receptive when you expose it to allergens early enough. It works very much the same way as vaccines.

Better yet, pets have been found to influence the child’s prenatal stage.

Exposure to animal fur reduces the production of allergens in your umbilical cord. This helps reduce the susceptibility to allergies in early childhood.

What Are Some Hobbies for Animal Lovers?

There’s a hobby for almost every common animal you know, from birds in the wild to the domestic dog:

1. Birding

bird watching
Bird Watching

Of all animal-related hobbies for any pet owner, birding — also referred to as bird watching — could be the most exciting hobby you will ever explore.

If you like to gaze out of your windows in your pajamas during the spring, cats are your first bird-watching companions.

Also, if you are always outdoors with your doggo, you can train him to stay still and quiet as you track down the weaverbirds in a nearby bush.

2. Photography

Photography is one of the most pursued animal-related hobbies both for pet lovers and outdoor adventurers.

Cats and dogs too, and even parrots, love being the subject of photography not just the center of attention.


Can owning a pet be considered a hobby?

Generally, no. But it can depend on the number of pets you keep and your approach.

Dogs – perhaps the most sought-after group of pets – have been man’s companions longer than any other pet.

The relationship between man and the dog is beyond the mere domestication of a wild animal.

It’s a friendship, to be precise. Would you view this friendship as a hobby? I don’t think so.

Additional Animal Hobbies
Animal AdoptionAnimal Fancy
Backyard ChickensBeekeeping
Dog TrainingDog Walking
Homing PigeonsKeeping Pets
Pet Sitting Taxidermy


Pet keeping as a hobby? 

Family Time: Doing Hobbies Together 

A Pet is not a Hobby