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Top 9 Dog Ownership Statistics in The United States

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Over the past three decades, dog ownership in the United States has increased significantly. Currently, the United States has the highest number of pet dogs. The most popular pet in the U.S. is the domestic dog. This shows how much Americans love dogs, for the same reason people in other cultures do.

What's more, a third of Americans admit to thinking they love their dog more than their partner! Most American dog owners believe their pets are loyal, cute, protective, and capable of feeling love. In this post, I'll be providing you with the top nine dog ownership statistics in the U.S.

1. There are more dogs in the United States than any other nation

The United States currently has the highest number of pet dogs, leading with almost 90 million dogs, per AVMA's report. Forbes reports that 65.1 million households own a dog in the U.S. According to the report, 42% of U.S. dog owners got their pets from a store while 38% got theirs from an animal shelter. 58% of U.S. dog owners are homeowners while 39% are renters. Residents in rural areas of the U.S. are more likely to own dogs than residents in suburban and urban areas. Millennials make up the largest percentage (33%) of current dog owners in the United States.

2. Dog Adoption Statistics in The United States

According to the ASPCA, the number of dogs that enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year is approximately 3.1 million. Per the ASPCA's estimate, the number of dogs entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from 3.9 million to 3.1 million in 2011. Each year, approximately 390,000 dogs are euthanized in U.S. shelters annually.

Approximately 2 million dogs are adopted each year from animal shelters in the U.S. About 710,000 dogs who enter U.S. shelters as strays are returned to their owners. The top ten most common dogs in U.S. shelters include American Bulldogs, Staffordshire Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Pit Bulls, Boxers, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, Beagles, and Labrador Retrievers.

3. Essential dog expenses in the United States cost an average of $1,533 annually

According to Forbes, Americans spent over $130 billion on their pets in 2022, with essential dog expenses costing an average of $1,533 annually. This includes the cost of vet care ($679.50), pet insurance ($601.01), and dog boarding for a seven-day vacation ($253). Each year, American dog owners spend $367 on vet care, $339 on dog food, and $99 on dog grooming. To afford their dogs’ expenses, 39.29% of U.S. dog owners live on a tighter budget. Another lifestyle sacrifice made by U.S. dog owners includes moving from an apartment to a house so their dog would have a yard.

4. Over 50% of U.S. dog owners have regrets about getting a dog

Owning a dog undeniably comes with benefits. However, being a responsible dog owner isn't an easy task. A survey by Forbes finds that the responsibilities of dog ownership can cause some Americans to have regrets about owning a dog. For some U.S. dog owners, the cost of vet bills is a burden. For others, caring for the dog and dog training is quite challenging. As a result, 54% of U.S. dog owners end up regretting getting a dog. For 27% of U.S. dog owners, the biggest challenge associated with dog ownership is cleaning up after a dog. Others cited training the dog and barking or whining as their biggest challenge.

5. More Americans are surrendering their dogs at shelters

While the love of a dog is priceless, the responsibilities that come with owning one are not. Earlier this year, an Ohio animal shelter said the amount of U.S. dog owners calling to surrender their dogs was out of control. In a 2022 CNBC article, most American dog owners cited higher housing costs as the driving force behind their decision to give up their dogs. Other prevailing reasons for dog surrenders in the U.S. include but are not limited to:
  • Significant lifestyle changes
  • Allergies or unforeseen health issues
  • Financial hardships
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of proper training and socialization
  • Housing pet policies
According to Petfinder, 47.7% of surrendered dogs were between 5 months and 3 years of age. 37.1% of surrendered dogs had been owned from seven months to one year. Approximately 42.8% of dogs surrendered were not sterilized nor had they been to a vet. Dogs acquired from friends were given up in higher numbers (31.4%) than from any other source. The majority of the surrendered dogs (96%) had not received any obedience training.

6. Colorado tops the list of states with the most devoted dog owners in the U.S.

According to Forbes, the state with the most devoted dog owners in America is Colorado. Per the survey, 43.50% of Colorado dog owners would spend over $4,000 to save their dog's life. The survey also showed that 11.00% of Colorado dog owners stayed at a job they disliked because it allowed them to work remotely or had a dog-friendly office.

Colorado also ranks 4th as the state with the most spoiled dogs, with 44.0% of owners bringing their dogs on vacation, 47.5% preparing homemade dog food or treats, and 26.5% pushing their dog in a stroller. Florida tops the list of states with the most spoiled dogs in the U.S.

7. States with the highest dog ownership rates in the U.S.

a chart of the top ten states with the highest dog ownership rates in the U.S.

Idaho tops the list of states with the highest dog ownership rates in the U.S. According to Statista, 58% of households own a dog in Idaho as of 2024. The second state on the list is Montana, where 51.6% of households own a dog. In Arkansas, around 51% of households are dog owners. Other states that appear in the top ten results include Mississippi, West Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

8. Most popular dog breeds in the U.S.

Since 1991, the Labrador Retriever had been the most popular dog breed in the U.S. before being dethroned by the French Bulldog in 2023. The top 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S. in 2023 according to the AKC include the:
  1. French Bulldog, 
  2. Labrador Retriever
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. German Shepherd
  5. Poodles
  6. Dachshund
  7. Bulldogs
  8. Beagle
  9. Rottweiler
  10. German Shorthaired Pointer
According to Forbes, 16 states rank the German Shepherd as their favorite dog breed. The Australian Shepherd ranks as a favorite dog breed in 10 states. Ten states rank the Labrador Retriever as their favorite dog breed. In nine states, the Bernese Mountain Dog ranks as a favorite dog breed.

Top 10 dog Breeds That Are Most Commonly Selected as a State's Favorite

9. Dog Bite Statistics in The United States

Dog bite incidents are a major problem in the United States. According to Forbes, an estimated 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Stray dogs pose a significant bite risk and are responsible for 15.55% of bite incidents in the country. In 2023, there were 58 deaths in the United States from dog bites. The pit bull is most likely to be involved in a fatal attack.

The most likely victims of a fatal dog attack in the U.S. are children ages one to four. The state with the most fatal dog attacks per capita was Alaska. According to Forbes, men are more likely to be attacked by dogs than women. Also, men are more likely to die in dog attacks in the U.S. The state with the highest number of dog bite and dog-related attack claims is California.


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