What Are The Odds?
The Probability That I Found Yuna

Since getting Yuna, I have been told multiple times how I “scored” finding Yuna up for adoption. That made me wonder what the odds were that I was able to be the one to provide her forever home.

October 14th, 2018

Since getting Yuna, I have been told multiple times how I “scored” finding Yuna up for adoption. She was exceptionally well-tempered, extremely friendly towards humans, and perfectly housebroken right upon adoption. And of course she was just so cute.

That made me wonder what the odds were that I was able to be the one to provide her forever home and begin her story.

In this fun post I will attempt to estimate the probability that Yuna found her way to me! Numbers not your thing? I don’t blame you—it gets complicated later on. The answer is waiting for you at the end, but it’ll be fun to follow along how I got there.

(*Note: All figures provided in this article were looked up on October 13th, 2018.)

The Dog Population of South Korea

Yuna came over to Seattle, WA from Korea. Let’s begin with the basics. The calculation starts by looking up the dog population of South Korea.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Googling “dog population of Korea” returns 2.7 million dogs as of 2015, but we should try to do more research and find a more recent and more accurate figure.

Two fairly recent articles (here, and here, both written within the past year) agree on the fact that in 2017, about one in five South Korean households (one article specifically lists 21.8%) owned a pet.

Specifically, in a country of about 51 million people, around 4.57 million households include a pet. Among those pets, 70% are dogs.

From this information we can conclude that there are around 3.2 million (4.57 million * 70%) dogs in South Korea. The figure from 2015 seems to corroborate this, as the pet industry in Korea has been surging.

What Percentage of Those Dogs Are Labradors?

Next, we must figure out how many of those dogs are Labradors.

This is no easy feat—this is a pretty specific query and after fishing around for a bit, I only found minimal information, most of it unhelpful.

The Wikipedia article on Labradors asserts that there isn’t a “global registry of Labradors, nor is there detailed information on numbers of Labradors living in each country.”

However, we can still make an educated guess.

While the Labrador Retriever was ranked the number one breed globally in 2017, this is mostly due to the popularity of Labs in Western and European countries.

In Korea (and in Asia as a whole), smaller breeds are preferred, with breeds such as the MalteseKorean Jindo, and Pomeranian stealing the show.

Courtesy of Pexels - Cory de Vega

While I cannot read Korean, this Youtube video suggests that Labradors are 10th in popularity in Korea. I would say this suggestion does make sense, given the fact that Labradors are popular worldwide, but are not as prominent in Korea due to the relative lack of space and apartment-style housing.

To use this information sensibly, I found the Fédération Cynologique Internationale’s (FCI) 2013 figures for dog registration for the top 30 breeds in the world. The figures include registrations from 25 countries, where I should note that Korea is NOT on the list.

The next step is full of assumptions I’m not sure make sense, but no matter: I summed up the number of registrations for the top 30 breeds, and found what percentage of dogs were Miniature Schnauzers, who are the tenth most popular breed worldwide. This came out to be around 2.9%.

Thus, I am assuming that if Labradors were the tenth most popular breed in Korea, they would take up around 2.9% of the dog population there.

Taking the previous figure of 3.2 million dogs, we conclude that there are about 92,800 (3.2 million * 2.9%) Labradors in Korea.

What Percentage of Labradors are Yellow Labs?

According to a database source, approximately 27.4% of Labradors are confirmed Yellow Labs. It is unclear which year this figure is from, but it is likely an outdated figure. There is a whopping 31.3% in that pie chart that accounts for “Unknown,” which perhaps means they are mixed Labs.

Courtesy of Pexels - Tookapic

I think the 31.3% figure is too large to factor in here, so I will remove that part of the pie and take the percentage of Yellow Labs out of all Black, Chocolate, and Yellow Labs.

This produces the result that about 39.9% of Labradors are Yellow (45.7% Black, 14.4% Chocolate).

So out of the 92,800 Labradors in Korea, I estimate that 37,027 are Yellow Labs.

Out of the total 3.2 million Korean dogs, this means 1.16% of Korean dogs are Yellow Labs.

How Many Dogs Are Abandoned Each Year In Korea?

fairly recent article reports that approximately 245 pets are abandoned every single day in Korea.

This does not take into account the number of unreported animals that go missing every day, but since Yuna’s abandonment was reported, I will not consider those cases.

Extending this figure to the entire year, this means 89,425 pets were abandoned in 2016, according to the article.

The article also notes that 70.9% of these animals are dogs, so 63,402 dogs were abandoned.

Out of the Korean dog population of 3.2 million dogs, this means that nearly 2% of dogs are abandoned each year.

Courtesy of Pexels - Sandipan Ghosh

We’ll assume that 2% of Yellow Labs are abandoned each year. From 37,027 Yellow Labs, 740 Yellow Labs are left on the streets.

How Many Dogs From Korea Does My Rescue Save?

I adopted Yuna from Ginger’s Pet Rescue, a rescue on a mission to saving dogs on death row, about to be sold to meat markets in their respective countries.

I sampled their website twice a week for a month, looking at their Adoptable Dogs listings. Each time, I counted the number of adoptable dogs from Korea, and the number of total adoptable dogs. Over eight samples, I found that the average number of adoptable dogs from Korea was 22 (out of an average number of total adoptable dogs of 115).

I realize my sample size was small, but considering this one month of samples was right around the time Yuna was on that list, I’d say it is a good enough set for this exercise.

Listing From Ginger's Pet Rescue

From Ginger Luke’s own profile, she notes that she has provided homes for more than 8,500 abandoned dogs. We will use the flat 8,500 number here.

Since there are 22 dogs from Korea adoptable out of 115, this is 19.1% of Ginger’s adoptable dogs.

This means Ginger’s Pet Rescue has successfully found homes for about 1,623 (8500 * 19.1%) dogs from Korea.

This is over a ten year span. So their yearly average is about 162 dogs from Korea.

Putting It All Together

That might have been long-winded, confusing, or both. The fun and most math part is coming.

Firstly, to summarize, here’s what we know:

The dog population of South Korea is approximately 3.2 million.

The Labrador population of South Korea is approximately 92,800.

The Yellow Labrador population of South Korea is approximately 37,027.

The number of abandoned dogs in South Korea is approximately 63,402.

The number of Yellow Labs abandoned in South Korea is approximately 740.

Ginger’s Pet Rescue saves an average of 162 Korean Dogs a year.

We now want to know the probability that Ginger’s Pet Rescue saved a Yellow Labrador from South Korea.

Courtesy of Pexels - George Becker

First, what is the probability that a Yellow Lab is abandoned in Korea?

Yuna is an abandoned Yellow Lab from Korea. There are 3.2 million dogs in Korea. 740 are abandoned Yellow Labs. So the probability that a Yellow Lab is abandoned in Korea is 740 in 3.2 million, or 0.023%.

Second, what is the probability that Ginger’s Pet Rescue saved a Yellow Lab From Korea?

Ginger’s Pet Rescue rescues 162 Korean dogs a year. They have a total of 63,402 dogs to “choose” from; 740 of them are Yellow Labs.

This can get complicated, and requires some understanding if probability.

Here’s a summary of one approach we can take: we can calculate the probability that Ginger’s Pet Rescue does NOT select a Yellow Lab among the abandoned dogs, and at the end take the INVERSE of that, to finally get the probability that they do select at least one Yellow Lab.

You can think of it this way: Ginger’s Pet Rescue has 162 “tries” to pick one of the 740 Yellow Labs among 63,402 dogs. Note that if 740 are Yellow Labs, 62,662 are NOT Yellow Labs.

So on the first try, the rescue has a 62,662 out of 63,402 chance of NOT selecting a Yellow Lab. This is 99.83%.

The second try, they have a 62,661 out of 63,401 chance. The third, a 62,660 out of 63,400 chance. And so on, and so on, for 162 tries.

On the last try, assuming Ginger’s Pet Rescue still has not selected a Yellow Lab yet, they have a 62,500 out of 63,240 chance of again missing a Yellow Lab. Because these numbers are large, each try still results in 99.83%, so we can assume each of the rescue’s 162 tries has a 99.83% chance of missing a Yellow Lab.

Since we’ve had this 99.83% chance 162 times, the final probability that Ginger’s Pet Rescue selects at least one Yellow Lab is the inverse of that scary exponential: 1 – (99.83%)^162 = 24.09%!

So the probability that a Yellow Lab is abandoned in Korea AND THEN picked up by Ginger’s Pet Rescue is 0.023% * 24.09% or 0.0055407%!

This is approximately a 1 in 18,048 chance!

The probability goes much lower if you find more concrete numbers, take more precise calculations, and consider a ton of other factors I left out here—such as the probability I decided to surf the Internet one fateful day to see Yuna on Ginger’s Pet Rescue’s page… or the probability that I ended up in Seattle straight out of college in the first place.

Hope you enjoyed this adventure! Be sure to check out Yuna’s Instagram for more fun stuff coming.