Desire for status or control may motivate some consumers to own certain types of pets. In the light of recent debates surrounding “designer pets,” this article examines the dark side of pet ownership through interpretive interviews with dog owners. The findings compare and contrast two types of ownership motivation — pets as companions to love versus pets as toys, status markers, and brands. This latter category forms part of the dark side of pet ownership. Owners differ in their motivation for ownership, their appreciation of the pet, the nature of human–animal interaction, breed choice, and the purchase of pet-related paraphernalia.