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.
Top 10 Worldwide Dog Statistics
- The worldwide dog population is estimated to be 900 million.
- China has the highest pet dog population in Asia at 110 million.
- Free-range dogs make up 75%–85% of the world’s dog population.
- There are 35 species of wild dogs recognized in the world.
- In the United States, 69 million households own at least one dog.
- There are currently 197 dog breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
- The Labrador Retriever has remained the most popular dog breed choice for American households since 1991.
- Washington, D.C. has the lowest dog ownership rate in the United States at just 22.5%.
- Each year, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters across the country.
- In the United States, 20% of dogs that enter shelters each year are euthanized.
Dog Populations Worldwide
1. The worldwide dog population is estimated to be 900 million.
Data is spotty for some dog populations in certain countries because many of the 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.
In eastern Europe, Russia has the highest pet dog population of 12 million.
2. China has the highest pet dog population in Asia at 110 million.
In Beijing alone, there are 1 million pet dogs. India’s stray dog population of 32 million outnumbers its pet dog population of 20 million. In Africa, the stray and pet numbers are even closer, with an estimated 78 million stray dogs and 70 million pet dogs.
3. Free-range dogs make up 75%–85% of the world’s dog population.
Free-range dogs are those that aren’t contained and therefore, roam free. They can be feral, stray, wild, federal, or village dogs. Of these dogs, about 200 million of them are stray.
4. There are 35 species of wild dogs recognized in the world.
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.
Dog Populations in the United States
5. In the United States, 69 million households own at least one dog.
In 2022, 70% of U.S. households reported owning at least one pet. This equates to 90.5 million homes across the country. Out of those 90.5 million, 69 million own at least one dog, making dogs the most popular pet choice. The second most popular pet is a cat, with 45.3 homes owning at least one feline.
6. There are currently 197 dog breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The first breed recognized by the AKC was the Pointer in 1878. Most recently in 2021, the AKC recognized the Biewer Terrier.
7. The Labrador Retriever has remained the most popular dog breed choice for American households since 1991.
American households love the Labrador Retriever, but other breeds are popular choices too. The French Bulldog, German Shepherd, and Golden Retriever are all top picks for pets.
8. Washington, D.C. has the lowest dog ownership rate in the United States at just 22.5%.
(World Population Review)
The District of Columbia also has the lowest cat ownership rate at 16.4%. The state with the highest dog ownership rate is Idaho, coming in at 58.3%.
Shelter Dog Statistics in the United States
9. Each year, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters across the country.
Shelters are so overcrowded with animals that they struggle to adopt out most of the ones that they take in. Only 48% of dogs that enter shelters are adopted. Dogs enter shelters by way of 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 gets to find a loving home afterward. Some never become adoptable, and others are too sick or injured to recover.
The good news is that 620,000 dogs taken into shelters each year as strays are reunited with their owners.
10. In the United States, 20% of dogs that enter shelters each year are euthanized.
While 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, these 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 ever become family pets.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Populations
Are there any countries without any stray dogs?
While some countries have more stray dogs than others, the Netherlands is the first country to officially no longer have any stray dogs! This was not always the case, however. The people recognized that stray dogs were a problem that they wanted to fix without mass euthanasia as 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, this was successful.
Laws were put in place that protected animals. Animal neglect and abuse now carried 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, these dogs are all in loving homes. (PVHS)
How can we reduce the number of shelter dogs in the United States?
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)
How many dogs are born each day in the United States?
In the U.S. alone, over 70,000 puppies and kittens are born every day. There will never be enough homes for all of them, which is why spaying and neutering are so important.
In just one year, a pair of breeding dogs can produce 16 puppies. If those puppies continue to breed, in two years, that number will increase to 228. In six years, that one pair of breeding dogs and their offspring will have produced 67,000 puppies. (Ward 42 Chicago)
Dogs are such an important part of our lives. While the population of dogs is ever-growing, 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.
- Related Read: How Many Dogs are There in the UK?
Featured Image Credit: kudybadorota, Pixabay