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Home > General > 7 Most Popular Pets in Canada: 2024 Updated Statistics

7 Most Popular Pets in Canada: 2024 Updated Statistics

gray cat beside a black and white dog on a grass

Pets are an integral part of the family, and it’s certainly no secret that humans value their beloved animals. It’s not surprising, then, that as the world’s human population grows, so does the population of pets.

While Canada doesn’t have the high pet population of other countries (Canada doesn’t even breach any of the top 20 lists on PetSecure’s Guide to Worldwide Pet Ownership), Canadians certainly love and cherish their pets. In fact, over half of Canadians have at least one pet, according to Abacus Data.

If you’ve ever been curious about Canada’s pet population and which animals are most popular amongst Canadians, keep reading. We’re going to review the seven most popular pets in the country and crunch the numbers so you can know just how many cats, dogs, and even alligators Canadians own as pets.

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The 7 Most Popular Pets in Canada

1. Cats

Many domestic cats in isolation looking outside of the window and trying to run away
Image by: Pencil case, Shutterstock

It should be no surprise that cats are one of the most common pets in Canada. According to Statista, nearly 8.5 million cats were kept as pets in Canada in 2022, and this number is expected to rise in 2023.

The percentage of Canadian homes with cats seems to be on the rise. This may be due in part to the lifestyle of many Canadians. Apartment buildings are becoming increasingly popular amongst the younger demographic, and cats’ independent and quiet personalities make them an ideal choice for apartment dwellers. In addition, cats can adapt better to smaller living spaces, and city codes are much less strict for felines.

If you were curious, there do seem to be regional differences across the country. For example, according to the Narrative Research study in 2021, of all Quebec pet owners, 67% have cats, while just 48% have dogs. The reverse is true in the prairies, British Columbia, and Northern Canada. The split between cat and dog owners is right down the middle in Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

According to Rover, the most popular cat breeds in Canada include the Domestic Shorthair, American Shorthair, and Domestic Longhair.


2. Dogs

four labrador retriever dogs in the grass
Image By: fotorince, Shutterstock

Again, it is not surprising that dogs are among the most popular pets for Canadians. According to Agriculture Canada, Canadians owned 7.9 million dogs in 2022, and that number is expected to rise!

You may find yourself wondering what breeds are the most popular, though.

According to the Canadian Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular breed in Canada for 28 years. It’s not only Canadians who love Labs, though. They were also the most popular breed in America until recently when the French Bulldog took over!

Golden Retrievers take the silver medal, knocking the German Shepherd down to the third spot for the first time since 2021.


3. Fish

aquarium with plants and fish
Image by: Daniel Corneschi, Unsplash

Fish are another common pet for Canadians.

According to the website “Made In Canada”, the number of pet fish has been on a slight incline since 2016. That year, there were 8.49 million fish owned as pets throughout Canada. By 2021, that number had grown to 8.51 million. This growth is surprising, considering that some Canadian pet stores stopped selling fish briefly to prevent the spread of an invasive species.

A national survey from Abacus Data suggests that just 6% of Canadian households own fish.


4. Birds

budgie birds
Image by: baby_bimi, Pixabay

Bird ownership throughout Canada has remained relatively stable over the years. That said, it does seem to be on a bit of a downturn, according to Agriculture Canada. In 2016, there were approximately 2.53 million pet birds in Canada. By 2021, this number had gone down to 2.51 million.

The Abacus Data survey revealed that only 3% of Canadians own birds.


5. Small Mammals

male rabbits in a cage
Image by: LNbjors, Shutterstock

Small mammals, such as guinea pigs, rabbits, and rodents, aren’t nearly as popular as the pets mentioned above, but they still hold a place in the heart of many Canadians.

According to Agriculture Canada, the number of small mammals kept as pets have remained relatively stable over the last several years. In 2016, Canadians owned 1.21 million small mammals, compared to 1.22 million in 2020.


6. Reptiles

bearded dragon's nails
Image by: KeraMik, Pixabay

Reptiles are exotic pets, but they’re relatively popular amongst Canadians. The number of Canadians who own reptiles is on a slow incline. According to Agriculture Canada, 266,000 reptiles were kept as pets in the country in 2016. Compare that figure to 272,000 in 2021.

According to Reptiles Magazine, bearded dragons are the most common reptile in Canada.


7. Exotic Animals

wildlife-salamander-pixabay
Image by: ThuyHaBich, Pixabay

According to research from World Animal Protection, Canadians keep over 1.4 million wild animals as pets. However, these animals may not be suitable as pets as they have not been selectively bred as domestic animals like cats and dogs.

Of the 1.4 million wild animals kept as pets, over 185,000 are wild cats like caracals and servals, and over 126,000 are wild dogs such as fennec foxes and dingoes. There are also over 129,000 turtles and tortoises and 164,000 snakes. Canadians also own 90,000 amphibians like toads or salamanders, over 50,000 arachnids like tarantulas and scorpions, and, believe it or not, over 14,000 crocodiles and alligators.

The highest concentration of wild animals kept as pets is in Ontario, with over 588,000. Quebec has over 286,000 wild animal pets, while Alberta comes in third with over 202,000.

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Final Thoughts

Like much of the world, Canada prefers the company of cats and dogs to other pets. That doesn’t mean Canadians don’t open their doors to more unique pets like reptiles, birds, or wild animals, though. Even those 14,000 alligators and crocodiles kept as pets in the country are undoubtedly loved by their owners.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Andrew S, Unsplash

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