THEY'RE man's best friend, but which breed of dog does the Tamworth region loves the most?
The Leader's done some digging and can reveal the top 10 most common breeds of pooches owned in the region.
It may be a bone of contention for some, but cattle dogs (commonly known as heelers) topped the list with 1946 registrations, while Jack Russell terrier (1691) and border collie (1601) claimed second and third place.
The Australian kelpie (1532) was a close fourth, followed by Maltese (1520) and German shepherds (1015).
Fox terriers (824), Maltese shih tzu (808), King Charles cavalier (666) and mastiffs (642) round out the top 10.
The statistics also showed there was currently 42, 051 dogs registered within the Tamworth region.
According to the 2016 census, there are 26,135 dwellings in the region, meaning on average each dwelling is home to 1.6 dogs.
South Tamworth (3023) has the most registered dogs in the region, followed by Manilla (2519) and West Tamworth (2512).
Hillvue (2237) is fourth on the list, Kootingal (1921) in fifth and Calala in sixth (1685).
Oxley Vale (1579) is next on the list, ahead of Westdale (1489), East Tamworth (1403), North Tamworth (1295) and Barraba (1281).
Attunga and Nundle round out the list with a total of 568 and 310 respectively.
Recent estimates indicate the Tamworth region's population is sitting at 62,156, which equates to 0.6 dogs to each resident.
Tamworth Regional Council senior ranger Ross White said while the council was unable to track unregistered pets, registered pets received many benefits.
"There is a lot of fun which comes with being a pet owner, but it is also a lifetime commitment with serious responsibilities," Mr White told the Leader.
"One responsibility is to have your animal microchipped and registered for life, which is required under the Companion Animals Act 1998.
"The huge benefit of this for a pet owner is that your animal can be identified and returned to you.
"In NSW, about 80,000 dogs and cats are lost, hurt or stolen each year."
Long-time Tamworth dog rescuer Jean Medlock agreed microchipping a pet was crucial to the animal's wellbeing.
"It is essential," Ms Medlock said.
"When I'm rehoming a dog, I won't let it go unless it has been microchipped, vaccinated and desexed.
"They are all vital things and something people need to be aware of.
"I'm trying to find a home for a dog named Sheba and I won't let her go without being registered and microchipped."
For more information on how to register your pet, visit: www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au and click on the dogs and cats icon.