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Pedigree Growth Strategy (A)


Dogs were the most popular pets in the world in 2004. There were about 72 million dogs in the United States and well over 200 million dogs worldwide. Dogs lived in 37.2 percent of U.S. households—more than any other animal—and this percentage was growing (see Table 1).

Animal Dogs Cats Fish Birds Horses Rabbits

Number (in millions) 43.09.0 37.5 4.5


Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (Schaumburg, IL: American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007), p. 1.

Dogs had a long history. The domestic dog was a direct descendant of the wolf; the DNA was almost identical. Fossil evidence from more than 10,000 years ago showed dog-like creatures in close quarters withhumans, indicating that domestication was common even at that time.1


1 Karen E. Lange, “Wolf to Woof: The Evolution of Dogs,” National Geographic Magazine, January 1, 2002,

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+13.8 +13.0 (6.3) +27.9 2.1 +5.9 1.9 (5.0)

Table 1: Pet-Owning Households in the United States
Change vs. 2001 (%)

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Julie Smith tossed the ball for her dog, Toby, a three-year-old Golden Retriever. Toby bounded off and grabbed the ball with an athletic leap. Smith did not cheer as she normally did; she was thinking about work. Smith was brand manager of Pedigree dogfood, and in less than a week she had to present her recommended marketing plan for the brand. It was August 18, 2004, and Smith had been working on the 2005 marketing plan for the past two months. Smith looked at Toby, who was eagerly waiting for another toss. “So, Toby,” Smith began, “What do you think? ‘Pedigree loves dogs?’ Do you think that will actually work?”

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There were hundreds of different breeds of dogs, ranging in size, stature, and temperament. The American Kennel Club recognized more than 150 different breeds. The smallest dog was the Chihuahua, which could weigh as little as three pounds when fully grown. The tallest was the Irish Wolfhound, which towered more than three feet, and the heaviest was the EnglishMastiff, which could weigh more than 300 pounds. Most dogs in the United States were mixed breeds.2 Some were random combinations, and determining the genetic mix of these could be very difficult. In the 1990s several so-called “designer” breeds, which brought together two carefully selected breeds with the goal of optimizing positive attributes, had become popular. As one dog owner explained, “Ispecifically chose a golden-doodle mixed-breed because of its temperament. Retrievers tend to be well behaved and Poodles tend to be fairly intelligent. Also, I wanted to experience a bit of my childhood again by choosing a similar dog to the breeds I grew up with: Retrievers.”

Dog Owners

There were about 43 million dog-owning households in the United States in 2004. Most of these households had...
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