Cats and Dogs

A cat matchbox label and a Dog matchbox

Exhibitor : Holly Harris

I am 15 and have been collecting domesticated cat and dog match material for quite a few years. Thank you for looking at my exhibit. I have enjoyed doing some research and sharing some of my collection with you. 


The domestic cat (Felis Catus) can either be a house cat, a farm cat or a feral cat; the latter ranges freely and avoids human contact. Domestic cats are valued by humans for companionship and therapy

  • The global cat population is estimated at circa 400 million and includes all feral cats, strays, and pets. Based on 2012 data there were around 95.6 million domestic cats in America, 66.5 million in the European Union (with 18m in Russia, 11.4m in France and 8.5 million in the UK). 
  • Other statistics from 2006 show China with the second largest cat population in their homes at 53.1 million. Brazil is the country from South America with the largest cat population being at 12.5 million and Japan has 7.3 million cats living with humans.
Chinese labels with cats



On the left is my favourite set of labels, 10 very cute playful looking cats from China. The decorative diagonal corner hinges give the impression that the labels are not complete, but they are.

Set of 18 cat labels from Cornish Match Company, average 48 sticks



I have three different versions of the set on the right. Two sets were made in Finland for the Cornish Match Company, England. One set Average Contents 45 sticks and the other 48 sticks, and a third set again made in Finland exclusively for the Duchy Match Co (again 48 sticks).




The dog (Canis Familiaris) is a domesticated descendant of the wolf. The dog was the first species to be domesticated, by hunter–gatherers over 15,000 years ago, before the development of agriculture. 

The dog has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviours, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Dog breeds vary widely in shape, size, and colour. They perform many roles for humans, such as huntingherdingpulling loadsprotectionassisting police and the militarycompanionshiptherapy, and aiding disabled people.

Over the millennia, dogs became uniquely adapted to human behaviour, and the human-canine bond has been a topic of frequent study. This influence on human society has led to the nickname of “man’s best friend“.

Cellophaned presentation pack of matchboxes depicting dogs

On the right is a cellophaned Spanish pack of Dog match boxes produced by Fosforera Española. Depicting the fastest dog breed top right (the greyhound). There are 40 different dogs in the full set which was first issued in 1960.

  • Over 470 million dogs are kept as pets around the world. The fastest growing dog population in the world can be found in India. The USA is number one for Both Dogs and Cat ownership. Brazil is number 2 for Dogs, number 4 for Cats. The growing middle class in Brazil most likely contributes to the exploding popularity of pet ownership in recent decades. China is number 3 for Dogs and number 2 for Cats. The pet industry in China has grown a whopping 2000% in the past decade.
  • Interesting fact France has 17 dogs per 100 people, one of the highest ratios in the world, and a dog population of about 7.4 million. 40% of the French people claim to love their dogs like human family members
  • There are many dog breeds, unknown in number due to cross breeds, leading to a massive range of large and small.
  • An Old English mastiff called Zorba weighed in at a record breaking massive 343 lbs and length of 8ft 3inches nose to tail. The tallest dog ever recorded was a Great Dane at a height of 44 inches from the ground to the withers. The fastest dog of course is the Greyhound with a top speed of 45 mph
  • The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world, weighing between 4 to 6 pounds with a height of between 6 to 10 inches.

Below are 3 label sets from the former country of Yugoslavia on different coloured paper (green, pink and yellow) and I also have brown, orange, blue, white and cream. Click on an image to enlarge it and see the sets.

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