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How Many Dogs Are There? US & Worldwide Statistics 2024

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

World & US Number of Dogs Facts and Statistics

How Many Dogs Are There? US & Worldwide Statistics 2024

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Even if you don’t own a dog yourself, you probably know someone who does. Dogs are a common pet choice in the United States, but their popularity doesn’t end there. There are approximately 900 million dogs across the globe, either being kept as pets, living in wild packs, or fending for themselves as strays.

Learning more about dogs can help us make educated choices when it comes to how we acquire our pets and the care that we give them.

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 Top 10 Worldwide Dog Statistics

  1. The worldwide dog population is estimated to be 900 million.
  2. China has the highest pet dog population in Asia, at 54.29 million.
  3. Free-range dogs make up 75%–85% of the world’s dog population.
  4. There are 35 species of wild dogs recognized in the world.
  5. In the United States, 65.1 million households own at least one dog.
  6. There are currently 200 dog breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  7. Although the Labrador Retriever was the most popular breed in the United States for over 30 years, the French Bulldog took the top spot in 2022.
  8. New Hampshire has the lowest dog ownership rate in the United States at 23.75%.
  9. Each year, 3.1 million dogs enter shelters across the country.
  10. In New York City, 2% more dogs were euthanized in 2023 than in 2022.
How Many Dogs Are There US
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Dog Populations Worldwide

1. The worldwide dog population is estimated to be 900 million.

(World Atlas)

Data is spotty for some dog populations in certain countries because many pet dogs are unregistered. We know that France has approximately 8.8 million pet dogs. Italy and Poland each have around 7.5 million pet dogs. According to the World Health Organization, the African continent has 70 million strays and 78 million pet dogs.

In Eastern Europe, Russia has the highest pet dog population of 12 million.

three spinone italiano dogs
Image Credit: AnetaZabranska, Shutterstock

2. China has the highest pet dog population in Asia at 54.29 million.

(World Atlas)

In Beijing alone, there are 1 million pet dogs. The one-dog-per-household rule hasn’t stopped many Chinese dog lovers from adopting multiple canines. Some of the most popular breeds in the country include Tibetan Mastiffs, Chow Chows, Shar Peis, and Pekingese.


3. Free-range dogs make up 75%–85% of the world’s dog population.

(World Atlas)

Free-range dogs aren’t owned as pets and, therefore, roam free. They can be feral, stray, wild, federal, or village dogs. Of these dogs, about 200 million of them are stray.

Other dogs that make up the free-range population include:
  • Wolves
  • Jackals
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Dholes
Coyote looking straight at the camera
Image Credit: MoniCh647, Pixabay

4. There are 35 species of wild dogs recognized in the world.

(National Library of Medicine)

These dogs belong to the family Canidae and are referred to as canines. These species are included in the free-range dog population. Several species of wild dogs are currently endangered. They can be found today on all continents except Antarctica.

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Dog Populations in the United States

5. In the United States, 65.1 million households own at least one dog.

(APPA)

In 2024, 66% of U.S. households reported owning at least one pet. That’s equal to 86.9 million homes across the country. Out of those 86.9 million, 65.1 million own at least one dog, making dogs the most popular pet in the United States. The second most popular pet is a cat, with 46.5 homes owning at least one feline.

Happy family stroking Golden Retriever
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

6. There are currently 200 dog breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

(AKC)

The first breed recognized by the AKC was the Pointer in 1878. The most recent entries were in 2022 when the AKC recognized the Mudi and Russian Toy.


7. Although the Labrador Retriever was the most popular breed in the United States for over 30 years, the French Bulldog took the top spot in 2022.

(AKC)

In 1991, the Labrador Retriever began a decades-long run as the most popular canine, but they dropped to second place in 2022. The new champ, the French Bulldog, makes an excellent pet, but they’re expensive to buy and care for.

Golden Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: Glass_Burin P, Shutterstock

8. New Hampshire has the lowest dog ownership rate in the United States at 23.75%.

(World Population Review)

Although they have fewer dogs than other states, New Hampshire has a higher cat ownership rate at 36.4%. At 58.8%, Idaho’s dog ownership rate is the highest in the country.

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Shelter Dog Statistics in the United States

9. Each year, 3.1 million dogs enter shelters across the country.

(ASPCA)

Shelters are so overcrowded with animals that they struggle to adopt out most of the ones they take in. Only 48% of dogs that enter shelters are adopted. Dogs enter shelters through owner surrenders, stray intakes, or rescue cases, where the animals are removed from abusive or neglectful situations.

Many dogs need medical care and rehabilitation to be deemed adoptable. Unfortunately, not every dog finds a loving home afterward. Some never become adoptable, and others are too sick or injured to recover.

The good news is that approximately 620,000 dogs in shelters are reunited with their owners.

homeless dogs of different breeds in animal shelter
Image By: Evgeny Bakhchev, Shutterstock

10. In New York City, 2% more dogs were euthanized in 2023 than in 2022.

(Shelter Animals Count)

New York’s increase in authorizations was due to overpopulation. Although many dogs are euthanized in shelters because of the overpopulation crisis, others are euthanized because they are sick, injured, or aggressive.

In cases of dog-fighting rings, the rescue dogs may be too dangerous to put up for adoption. In cases of severe cruelty, it may be impossible to rehabilitate some dogs enough to become family pets.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Populations

Are there any countries without any stray dogs?

Although some countries have more stray dogs than others, the Netherlands is the first country to have no stray dogs! That was not always the case, however. The residents recognized that stray dogs were a problem but felt mass euthanasia wasn’t the answer.

It started with spaying and neutering every dog, which was mandated and financed by the government. Each dog also received veterinary treatment when necessary. With the financial burden no longer being a reason to hold owners back, the effort was successful.

New laws were also enforced to protect animals. Animal neglect and abuse now carry a prison sentence and a hefty fine. Higher taxes were placed on dogs purchased through breeders and stores to encourage adoption instead.

Awareness programs promoting dog adoption resulted in 90% of the population adopting a stray dog. We know that approximately 1.95 million dogs live in the Netherlands, and due to the efforts of the people, the dogs are all in loving homes. (Dutch Review)

stray dog sleeping on the streets
Image By: NPvancheng, Shutterstock

How can we reduce the number of shelter dogs in the United States?

  • Shelters across the country do non-stop work to rescue, treat, and rehome dogs, but they can’t do it alone. Pet owners can help by making responsible choices to reduce the number of homeless dogs.
  • When welcoming a pet into your home, consider adoption first. Adopting a dog from the shelter will open a spot for a new dog that needs help. The more dogs that can be saved, the fewer dogs will have to be euthanized simply because they don’t have homes.
  • If you are buying a puppy from a breeder, do your research first. Make sure the breeder is reputable. Stay away from puppy mill operations and backyard breeders.
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered as early as possible.
  • Don’t intentionally breed your dog.
  • Inform your family and friends about responsible dog ownership and how to reduce the overpopulation of dogs in the country. (Oklahoma Alliance for Animals)

How many service dogs are there in the United States?

Service dogs have permission to access any place that their handlers go. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes this possible, which is why you may see people with dogs in shops and restaurants. There are around 500,000 service dogs at work today in the United States, helping people live their daily lives.

Additionally, 170 countries have passed civil rights laws like the ADA to allow service dogs to remain by their handlers’ sides wherever they are. (ShareAmerica)

service dog lying by the shore
Image By: Krista Grear, Pixabay

How many puppies can one dog give birth to?

Estimating the number of canine births in the United States is impossible since puppy mills don’t report their litters and aren’t regulated. However, a healthy female can have two litters a year, and a female and her litter can produce up to 508 puppies in 7 years. (Snap.org)

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Conclusion

Dogs are such an important part of our lives. Although the population of dogs is steadily increasing, we can do our part to limit the number of homeless pets as much as we can.

Pet, wild, stray, and feral dogs make up a population of 900 million dogs worldwide. Keeping our pet dogs spayed and neutered will reduce the number of unwanted dogs and ease the burden of shelters across the country.


Featured Image Credit: kudybadorota, Pixabay

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