The research, carried out by pet charity Blue Cross, also shows more than two thirds of Brits (67 per cent) follow a feed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest that is ‘run by’ or dedicated to a breed of animal.
Pugs and French Bulldogs were named the most popular breeds of dogs shared on Instagram, with tabby and Maine Coon leading the way for the cats.
But the Blue Cross is appealing to pet owners to put aside love about likes when choosing their new family member.
Mandy Jones, director of rehoming, said: ‘We certainly sympathise with anyone who loves taking photos of their pets or following cats and dogs on social media, but we wish we could get our homeless pets the same numbers of followers!
‘We love every breed; be they pugs and bulldogs or mongrels and mixes.
‘Choosing based on fashion can lead to heartache too; the current fashion for flat faced dogs is resulting in thousands of puppies being born who will have a lifetime of chronic health problems due to being unable to breathe comfortably.’
One in 10 people follow more than 10 animal accounts online, while 12 per cent pet of owners or would-be owners said although they conducted thorough research before choosing their new pet, they were initially attracted to their breed because of images seen on social media.
TOP 5 DOGS BY HASHTAG USE:
French Bulldog (24.4m)
TOP 5 CATS BY HASHTAG USE:
Maine Coon (4m)