• The cover option featuring the border collie (right) won the vote.

In a unique twist, the cover vote for our first ever special interest publication dedicated to pets featured six options — three images of dogs, three of cats. (As regular Canadian Geographic followers know, in advance of each issue’s publication we solicit your feedback to help us choose our cover image.) When it comes to our special issues we typically run both a front and back cover, so we planned to run one species on the front, the other on the back.

I suspect that cat lovers and dog lovers can probably fight like, well, cats and dogs when it comes to the question of which pet is best. And we were undoubtedly in a no-win position in the middle of such a debate when it came to deciding which animal should grace the front of this issue. We chose dog — let the debate rage.

The top dog was option three (above), garnering 42 per cent of the votes for the dogs — options one and two got 31 and 27 per cent of the tally, respectively — making the shot of the border collie a clear winner. This particular image was a favourite of our CEO John Geiger and publisher André Préfontaine, both of whom were drawn to the action and movement inherent in the image. Voter comments reflected an appreciation of those traits, too.

Coincidentally, the winning cat option, four (below), was also the office favourite. It too won handily, registering 43 per cent of the cat vote (options five and six received 26 and 31 per cent of the tally). Both our staff and voters were “cat-tivated” by this particular feline’s cuteness, particularly its neckerchief.

While the debate over these cover options could undoubtedly continue, we don’t anticipate anyone will argue that the winners aren’t cute, or that they don’t evoke the idea of the perfect animal companion. Whether dog, cat or some other species, the unconditional love of a pet is something we can all appreciate.

The most popular cat photo was Cover #4 (left).