Dogs 'prefer upbeat Christmas songs such as Wham's Last Christmas'

That’s paw-some! Dogs prefer upbeat Christmas songs – with Wham!’s Last Christmas and Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You topping the list, study finds

  • Dogs prefer upbeat Christmas songs such as Wham!’s Last Christmas — study 
  • The charity Guide Dogs carried out a survey of 1,000 dog owners across the UK 
  • Dogs’ favourite Christmas songs were Last Christmas (10%) and Jingle Bells (9%)
  • Owners are 33% more likely to prioritise dog’s taste in music over their parents

Whether it’s Fairytale of New York, Frosty the Snowman, or Santa Claus is Coming to Town, we all have our favourite Christmas songs to brighten the festive period.

But it turns out dogs also have their Yuletide go-tos, according to new research by the charity Guide Dogs.

A survey of 1,000 dog owners across the UK found that the most popular song for pooches was Wham!’s Last Christmas.

It received 10 per cent of the votes, a nose ahead of Jingle Bells (9 per cent) and All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey (6 per cent).

Festive favourites: A survey of 1,000 dog owners across the UK found that the most popular song for pooches was Wham!’s Last Christmas


1. Last Christmas, Wham! (10%)

2. Jingle Bells (9%)

3. All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey (6%)

4. Driving Home for Christmas, Chris Rea (6%)

5. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, Wizzard (6%)

6. Merry Christmas Everybody, Slade (6%)

7. Silent Night (6%)

8. Fairytale of New York, The Pogues (5%)

9. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Michael Bublé (6%)

10. A Wonderful Christmas Time, Paul McCartney (5%)

Dog owners said that upbeat songs were their pets’ preferred choice (22 per cent), proving more popular than songs that are quiet (18 per cent), instrumental (14 per cent), or slow (14 per cent). 

The research showed that 90 per cent of dogs like music, although what they get from music can vary. 

In line with their music taste they’re most likely to be energetic — wagging their tail (23 per cent), or generally being excitable (15 per cent). 

However, some also appear calm (12 per cent) or fall asleep (11 per cent). 

A dog’s behaviour is often linked to human behaviour so an upbeat human is likely to result in an upbeat dog, Guide Dogs said.

Such positive reactions have led to more than a third of dog owners (47 per cent) admitting they play music to suit their dogs’ musical preferences at least once a week all year round. 

Not only that, but the survey showed they’re 33 per cent more likely to prioritise their dog’s taste in music over their parents’ and 23 per cent more likely than their friends’.

It’s not just for fun, however. 

A quarter of dog owners claimed that music was helpful to keep their dog calm or comfortable. 

This is significant as a third (34 per cent) said their home was busier and louder at Christmas time and a further 26 per cent that their dog’s routine changes over Christmas. 

A similar number (30 per cent) also said that they would rather have music playing than leave the TV on to keep their dog company.

It isn’t just Christmas songs that get dogs in the groove, though. 

Owners said their pooches enjoyed pop (20 per cent), classical (15 per cent) and reggae (9 per cent), too. 

Dr Helen Whiteside, the chief scientific officer at Guide Dogs, said: ‘As we look forward to spending the festive period with friends and loved ones, this Christmas will be a step change for an entire generation of new dogs born during lockdown. 

‘Houses are likely to be busier than normal and many dogs’ routines will change.

‘Music is often used to calm dogs in times of change and stress, so it is unsurprising that it will play a key role for dogs this Christmas. 

‘But also we can see from the poll that music can bring out fun moments for dog and owner to share, so take a look at our top 10 list and let us know your favourites this Christmas.’

Guide Dogs is encouraging the public to share videos of their dogs enjoying favourite festive tunes on social media by tagging @GuideDogs.


A genetic analysis of the world’s oldest known dog remains revealed that dogs were domesticated in a single event by humans living in Eurasia, around 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Dr Krishna Veeramah, an assistant professor in evolution at Stony Brook University, told MailOnline: ‘The process of dog domestication would have been a very complex process, involving a number of generations where signature dog traits evolved gradually.

‘The current hypothesis is that the domestication of dogs likely arose passively, with a population of wolves somewhere in the world living on the outskirts of hunter-gatherer camps feeding off refuse created by the humans.

‘Those wolves that were tamer and less aggressive would have been more successful at this, and while the humans did not initially gain any kind of benefit from this process, over time they would have developed some kind of symbiotic [mutually beneficial] relationship with these animals, eventually evolving into the dogs we see today.’

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