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3rd September 2009

Lassie named top dog as Classic TV pets stand the test of time

Nostalgic classics reign strong over modern rivals as TV's four-legged legend Lassie is voted the UK's favourite ever on-screen pet.

Research commissioned by Petplan, the UK's largest pet insurance provider, unveils the nations favourite ever TV and film pets and reveals that old classics still stand the test of time, ranking consistently higher than their modern counterparts. Classic characters such as intrepid gang leader Top Cat, brave colt Black Beauty and loyal terrier Toto (Wizard of Oz) dominate the top 10 lists.

Top dog Lassie, often assumed to be a US creation was actually the brainchild of home grown British author Eric Knight nearly 70 years ago. In the original story, Lassie heralds from Yorkshire before she became a hit with young and old audiences alike and was transformed into a worldwide movie star on the American big screen.

Petplan can reveal that women predominantly carry the sentimental torch, with Lassie coming in as hands down favourite with women. In contrast, men are swayed from their childhood favourites and appear won over by the modern day comedy value as Brian the dog from Family Guy pips Lassie to the post.

Dogs are the most popular animal overall, cementing their status as man's best friend. It's also no surprise that the nation's beloved soap operas have influenced the list with Well'ard, Little Willie and Roly (all ex Eastenders pooches) making the overall TV top 10. Other home grown pets include Blue Peter's duo Shep and Goldie along with the oldest pet to make the list, Black Beauty, having been originally created in 1877.

Petplan's Alison Andrew says of the results: "She may be 70 years old but Lassie has proved herself a true cultural icon. The results have proved the real influence on-screen pets have and the special place they hold in people's hearts, even years after they were last seen on main stream channels."

Petplan is calling on pet owners to upload images of their Lassie-a-likes or budding Toto's to the National Petrait Gallery www.petraitgallery.co.uk and help break the World Record for the largest ever photography exhibition.

Notes to editors:

Top 10 TV Pets

  1. Lassie
  2. Brian, Family Guy
  3. Garfield
  4. Top Cat
  5. Littlest Hobo
  6. Well'ard
  7. Santa's Little Helper, The Simpsons
  8. Marcel the Monkey, Friends
  9. Black Beauty
  10. Bouncer, Neighbours

Female Top 10 TV Pets

  1. Lassie
  2. Brian, Family Guy
  3. Garfield
  4. Well'ard
  5. Marcel the Monkey, Friends
  6. Black Beauty
  7. Top Cat
  8. Littlest Hobo
  9. Santa's Little Helper, The Simpsons
  10. Bouncer, Neighbours

Male Top 10 TV Pets

  1. Brian, Family Guy
  2. Top Cat
  3. Lassie
  4. Littlest Hobo
  5. Garfield
  6. Santa's Little Helper, The Simpsons
  7. Sylvester
  8. Eddie, Frasier
  9. Bouncer, Neighbours
  10. Snowy

Top 10 Film pets

  1. Gromit
  2. Hooch, Turner and Hooch
  3. Beethoven
  4. Garfield
  5. Lassie
  6. Hedwig, Harry Potter
  7. Babe
  8. Lady, Lady and the Tramp
  9. Clyde, Any Way Which But Loose
  10. Pongo and Perdy, 101 Dalmatians

Results taken from OnePoll survey commissioned by Petplan, July 2009. Sample size, 3,000.

About the National Petrait Gallery

Launched in May this year by Petplan, the first ever National Petrait Gallery is an online photo gallery celebrating the nation's love of pets. The Gallery is also a Guinness World Record attempt aiming to collate over 138,000 pet images.To date, the Gallery has already received over 22,000 image uploads. Visit www.petraitgallery.co.uk.

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

For more information about Petplan cat insurance, please visit:

For more information about Petplan dog insurance, please visit: