Dogs are not just man’s best friend, they are also an integral part of many households and communities around the world. According to the American Pet Products Association, there are over 90 million dogs in the United States alone.
These loyal and loving creatures come in all shapes and sizes, and each one has its own unique personality. In this article, we will explore various statistics and facts about dogs, including their popularity, breeds, health, and more.
From the most popular breeds to the average lifespan of a dog, this report will give you a deeper understanding of our beloved canine companions. So let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of dogs!
It’s Estimated That There Are More Than 900 Million Dogs Across the World (World Atlas)
One of the biggest misconceptions about dog ownership is that it’s about unconditional love. That’s “BS”! To be a pet owner isn’t unconditional. It’s entering into a relationship that requires 100% commitment. With over 900 million dogs roaming our planet, we’ve not done dogs justice.
Almost 85% of Dogs in the World Are Free-Range (WorldAtlas)
As North Americans, we’re always aghast when we see street mongrels loiter near our vacation hotels in developing nations. We take pity on the dogs and judge the residents as uncaring. We think we’re superior with our hidden animal shelter machines.
The WHO (World Health Organization) estimated that 200 million dogs belong to the largest pack of free-range dogs. This equates to about 75-85% of the worldwide figures and contributes to the overpopulation of animals and animal shelter overpopulation statistics.
More Than 58% of Females Have at Least One Pet (Joybird)
It’s really not surprising. While statically, it might have been men at one time, the tide shifted. Women appreciate companionship, and dogs make us feel safe.
The Chance of a Person Dying From a Wasp, Bee, or Hornet Sting Is Two Times Higher Than a Dog Bite (Injury Facts)
We live with unsubstantiated and imagined fear issues. Fear, by its nature, is healthy. It’s how humans survived since we looked outside the cave to see if the coast was clear. However, some suffer from debilitating fears like dying in a plane crash, dog bites, or lightning.
Yet, we have no fear of getting into our cars, taking prescribed narcotics, and not having the proper medications when stung by a wasp or bee. (Wasps are beneficial insects that ward off pests and help produce wine.)
Dogs Have Three Eyelids (Whole Dog Journal)
Eyes are the windows of our souls. No wonder dogs have extra eyelids; they must see so much when they look at us. The American Veterinary Medical Association understands that a dog’s health includes ocular health. Dogs evolved in many ways and have a third eyelid in the inner part of the lower lid.
Statistics Say, There Are Over 190 Different Dog Breeds (AKC)
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has 190 dog breeds on its list of recognized breed standards. However, the FCI or Fédération Cynologique Internationale claims there are 360 breeds, including dog breeds that don’t have a registered status, like mixed breeds or designer breeds like Goldendoodles or Puggles.
6 Million Dogs Adopted and 670,000 Euthanized (ASPCA)
There’s no doubt that dogs end up in animal shelters for legit reasons. However, isn’t 670,000 euthanized dogs one too many? Animal shelters, the ASPCA, and organizations like the Humane Society fight endlessly against puppy mills, dog fighting, and animal cruelty.
US Dog Statistics
Almost 63.4 Million American Households Have at Least One Dog (HSUS)
America is a pet-loving country with over 63.4 million dogs living among people. Americans also spend $50 billion generously on pet food. However, we only donate 3% of all our philanthropic funds to animal welfare. That means the Humane Society not only has to fight to save animals, but they also have to battle for money.
Annually, More Than 3.3 Million Dogs in the US Are Brought Into Animal Shelters (ASPCA)
Numbers fluctuate, and organizations like the ASPCA and the Humane Society strive valiantly to save as many dogs and cats with the resources available. Major events like the pandemic affected pet ownership statistics.
In the last decade, the number of dogs and cats entering animal shelters has hovered above the three million mark. Close to one million dogs and cats can’t find suitable homes and end up on death row. More cats are euthanized than dogs.
These numbers prove how important the ASPCA, the volunteers, and the pet rescue centers are to the well-being of our pets.
On Average, 48% of US Households Own a Small Dog (HSUS)
Many choose smaller dogs as companions because they require less physical care than larger breeds. Small dogs also eat less and can even travel on (some) airlines in carry-on luggage.
Numbers about pet ownership are hard to track since most states or communities don’t require legal registration, even if there are bi-laws for licensing.
Around 1.5 Million Dogs Are Euthanized in Animal Shelters Annually (ASPCA)
Undoubtedly the number of pets euthanized fluctuates, and organizations use their own data to derive different figures. The latest numbers from the ASPCA suggest the number is 390,000 dogs. The ASPCA uses Shelter Animals Count as its source of data for 2019.
Other organizations may inflate that number to 1.5 million because no data supports how many other ways dogs face euthanization in puppy mills, fighting rings, and dog racing.
Approximately 33% of Americans Considered Adopting a Pet During the COVID-19 Pandemic (CNBC)
The pandemic was difficult. We turned to our four-legged friends for comfort when social distancing separated us from human companionship. Millennials adopted at 50%, Gen X at 33%, and Boomers took home 25% of adoptable pets.
Sales of Pet Products Reached $103.6 Billion During the Pandemic (APPA)
While there is no clear way of tracking dog deaths, we can measure what we spend on our dogs. Steve King, President of APPA (American Pet Product Association), consumers spent a staggering $103.6 billion (2019) on animal care. They projected a 5.8% growth.
- OTC (over-the-counter) category $22.1 billion is 15.1% over 2019
- Food & Treat category $42 billion is 9.7% over 2019
- Vet Care & Product $31.4 billion is 7.2% over 2019
For 2021, the actual number is $123.6 billion.
In the US, There Are Over 10,000 Licensed and Unlicensed Puppy Mills (the Puppy Mill Project)
Puppy mills are in the business of churning out thousands of puppies based on the demands for a canine friend. They do it unethically regardless of whether they’re licensed or unlicensed (7000 of them).
According to HSUS, puppy mills are inhumane commercial dog breeding facilities. That’s actually saying it the polite way. It’s the most bizarre business model on the planet, yet pet stores like Petland still use puppy mills.
Puppy mills also contribute to pet overpopulation and euthanasia statics. Consider adoption through shelter organizations.
On a Yearly Basis, 35.7% of Pet Spending Goes Toward Veterinary and Medical Care (Spots, APPA)
Many Americans care deeply about their pet ownership and take the responsibility of owning a pet seriously. Veterinarian care figures include what pet owners spend on routine vaccinations, surgeries, and pharmaceuticals to help support their pet’s health. (This figure does not include pet accessories and food purchased at the vet.)
About 23% of Pet Dogs Are Rescued From a Shelter or Humane Society (ASPCA)
People are strange creatures. One set will go above and beyond to save an animal’s life, and others abandon animals without hesitation. The good news is that people adopt 23% of dogs from shelters.
People don’t realize that an astonishing 25% of dog shelters are purebred.
In 2020, Americans Collectively Spent More Than $38.4 Billion on Pet Food and Treats (APPA, the American Pet Products Association)
APPA forecasts a strong increase (5.8% over 2019) in pet industry spending. These numbers are based on Nielsen Scan (an industry tool) and Rakuten for e-Commerce. This number rose to $50 billion in 2021.
Dog Ownership Statistics
More Than 78% of Dog Owners Believe Their Dogs Should Have at Least Two Walks a Day (Pet Backer)
According to pet statistics, providing daily walks makes their dogs:
- 70% happier
- 46% more lively and revitalized
- 41% more content and calm
- 93% de-stressed
A Surprisingly High Number of Dog Owners (95.5%) Consider Their Pets To Be Their Family Members (Pet Backer)
Pet Backer sources suggest pet owners take pet ownership very seriously, and our pets become valued family members. Therefore, many pet parents enroll their dogs in doggy daycare, hire dog walkers, and take them on vacation.
- 64% of dog-owning households say walking their pet is a sign of affection and a sense of responsibility toward their dog
- 95.5% claim they see their dog as a member of the family
- 56% talk to their dogs and greet them when they come home
Around 43% of Dog Owners Get Premium Food for Their Dogs (Vetstreet)
Undoubtedly, we’ve moved beyond the good ole’ dog food. Our dogs eat well; we’ve switched them from ordinary kibble and upscaled them to premium dog food. Millennials especially take healthy dog food seriously. However, 56% of dogs are obese (2018).
1 in Every 5 Dog Owners Purchases Special Treats and Gifts for Their Animal Companions USA (Pet Backer)
It only makes sense if we treat our canine members as family and buy them gifts for special occasions. We spoil them with gourmet treats, order special pampering spas, spend lavishly on dog toys, hire sitters and remember them on special holidays.
While it’s super cool to give your dog gifts, it’s not cool to give a dog as a gift.
Around 31% of Millennials Are Pet Owners (APPA)
Millennials really take dog parenting to heart. They invest in better dog food and pet extras like doggy daycare.
Around 43% of Dogs Sleep on Their Owners’ Beds (APPA)
According to stats, people love snuggling with their pets at bedtime. The APPA conducted a survey (2021-2022), and pets enjoy the luxury of sleeping in our bed space.
The benefits of sleeping with pets not only abate loneliness but adds a sense of security.
25 Million Dog Owners Take Their Pups on Vacation (APPA)
A vacation without our canine family members isn’t a vacation at all.
- 78% take our pets on holiday in America
- Worldwide, 60% of hoomans vacation with their pets
- Many dog owners (25 million) take advantage of pet-friendly hotels
- As many as 37% stay at home with their pets for their vacation
- Luxury, midscale, and economy hotels accommodate pets
8 Million Dogs Go to Work with Their Owners (APPA)
Although 11% of Americans fear dogs, eight million lucky individuals get to take their canine to work. Bring your dog to work day increases job satisfaction by 22%, according to a study conducted by Purina. Further, employees are more productive and performance motivated.
Nestle and Purina initiated a Pets at Work program in 22 countries. A national poll (dated 2006) suggests people who bring their dogs to the office work longer hours. One in five American companies encourages pets at work to change the workforce dynamic.
79% of Dogs Received a Christmas Present (APPA)
Since Santa knows if you’ve been good or bad, it’s difficult not to leave a wrapped ball, chew toy, or special treats under the tree for our furry friends. An astonishing 79% gave a gift to their dog. (Everyone knows the cat thought the tree ornaments were just for them.)
Benefits of Owning a Dog Statistics
More Than 40% of Dog Owners Have Improved Their Lives Socially (Huff Post)
Pet owners already know that sharing a home with their favorite four-legged creature has many benefits. Owners are socially active and meet people easier. People are also healthier and recover from surgery better. Pet owners equate touching and being with their pets as a spiritual experience.
The Minnesota Stroke Institute studied the benefits of pet cats and found that cat owners had a reduced chance of dying from a heart condition. While the study strictly used cats, experts suggest that dog ownership would produce the same results.
Dog Owners Are 54% More Likely To Receive the Recommended Daily Dose of Exercise (American Humane)
Dog owners didn’t need a survey to confirm that dogs benefit human health in myriad ways. The American Heart Association found that dog owners follow the recommended allotment of exercise at 54% higher.
Owning a pet improves our immune system and decreases blood pressure and cholesterol. Not to mention the immense emotional benefits.
There Is a 33% Less Chance of Premature Death in Dog Owners Who Live Alone With Their Pets (Time)
People (aged 45 to 79) who live alone have a greater risk of heart disease and dying sooner than people in similar situations. An Uppsala University research project that studied subjects in Sweden (with registered ownership regulations) found that single dog owners had a 33% lesser chance of death and 11% fewer heart attacks.
Dogs Can Assist in Decreasing Anxiety and Loneliness by 60% (Healthline)
Seriously, isn’t that what dog owners have been preaching? Dogs might make a mess, chew our shoes, and makes us walk when we’re too tired, but they’re a better medicine than laughter.
In a college study, depressed students underwent an experiment whereby they spent a few hours with therapy dogs and played games. Voila, 60% recorded reduced symptoms of anxiety and loneliness.
Dog Owners Are 23% Less Likely to Die From Heart Disease (The Guardian)
It only makes sense. Doctors are constantly telling us to get off our sedentary lifestyles. Dogs know that walking around the local park is good for us.
A study conducted over 12 years on 3.4 million participants found that having a dog in your life reduces your chance of death (23%) from heart disease. Also, it lowered the risk of dying from other illnesses by 20%.
Owning a Dog Decreases High Blood Pressure Levels by 3.34 mmHg (Healthy Pets)
A study involving over 1500 candidates aged 60 + years found that dog owners had lower systolic blood pressure. A 2 mm drop in these levels can cause a 6% lower risk factor for strokes, 4% less for coronary disease, and a 3% less likely to die.
Dog Owners Who Survived a Stroke Are 27% Less Likely To Die Prematurely (ABC News)
Curiously, pharmaceutical companies and doctors aren’t getting out of the prescription pad and suggesting a dog or cat remedy for their patients. In a ten-year-plus study tracking solitary heart attack survivors living with a dog had a 33% lower chance of dying compared to people who lived without pets.
Dog Training Statistics
Almost 8% of Dog Owners Took Their Dogs to Obedience Classes (AKC)
Many people misinterpret obedience as a negative word, far from it. It’s a tool that allows you to bond with your dog. It teaches owners and dogs many fun and potentially lifesaving skills. Obedience is about learning skills and positive reinforcement behavior beneficial for pets and owners.
Obedience training is so much fun.
Around 73% of Dog Owners Used Some Kind of Training Method (AKC)
Owning a dog takes commitment and time. People are taking dog ownership seriously and investing in training methods. Since 2018, 57% of pet owners have used self-style training. That’s an increase of over 16% from previous AKC resources.
Approximately 94% of Dog Owners Do at Least a Little Dog Training at Home. (APPA)
Training is not unlike children learning accepted behavior in school. Proud dog owner believes they’ve trained their pooch more than others. ‘Sit’ is the most used command that dogs understand.
5% of Dog Owners Have Trained Their Dogs by Themselves (Vetstreet)
Congratulations to the 5%. Training a dog takes effort and understanding how dogs and even different breeds respond. Most professional trainers suggest taking the time and moving toward the goal slowly but consistently. This works for training stubborn dogs too.
The Dog Training Statistics Show the Cost of Dog Training Ranges From $30 to $80 per Class (APPA)
Dog training is not a punishment. It’s a wonderful opportunity for pet owners to understand the idiosyncrasies of their new pups. Training is potentially a lifesaving skill to keep your dog safe. Shop around for trainers in your local area and read reviews. Averages range anywhere from $20 to a staggering $120 per class.
Dog Health Statistics
Over 90% of Dog Owners Took Them to a Vet for at Least One Visit (AKC)
People take pet health seriously, and according to AKC, 90% of a survey confirmed they took their pup to the vet at least once during the past year. That may have been for routine visits, surgeries for spaying or neutering, or general health concerns.
Large dog owners are more likely to spend money on medication, including CBD. One-fifth invest in pet insurance. 80% of Owners Had Their Dogs Spayed/Neutered (AKC)
Pet overpopulation is a problem. While spaying and neutering is important to prevent unwanted puppies, it also prevents STDs in dogs. Yes, STDs like herpes or VD. There are proponents for each side. Research suggests that untreated dogs can develop cancers and joint disorders.
In 2018, 56% of Dogs Rated As Obese in the US (APOP)
No doubt we love our dogs and spoil them with high-grade food and too many treats. We do it because we love them, but we need to stop. All the health issues concerning the extra weight that affect people can also affect dogs.
Ask about recommendations to help you provide a better diet for your dog if the vet doesn’t volunteer the information.
Cat Lovers vs Dog Lovers Statistics
Almost All Dog Owners Tend To Live More (45 Years) Than Cat Lovers (38 Years) (AVMA)
If you want to start an argument, ask pet owners which is better: a cat or a dog. Owning a pet improves people’s physical and mental health. Numerous studies prove that animal companionship is good for us.
While some studies might suggest that dog owners live longer than cat lovers, the data available isn’t reliable enough to make such a pronouncement.
Some studies also suggest that cat owners are more intelligent than dog owners.
Approximately 28% of US Citizens Own a Cat, While 33% Own a Dog (APPA)
Depending on what source and year you base these numbers on, dogs are more popular than cats. However, since there are no official registries to monitor official numbers, as of 2017-2018, 38.4% of households had a dog, while 25.4% owned a cat. We all know that the pandemic influenced pet ownership drastically.
Generally, Dogs Are Easier To Train Than Cats (PetMD)
Not everything is a competition, but most people would agree that dogs are easier to train. However, kittens take litter training easier than puppies. That said, cats don’t require as much training as dogs.
We accept cat behavior more readily than dog behavior and have certain expectations of what a dog does. We don’t expect cats to shake a paw, fetch, or come to us on command.
The best way to settle the debate is to understand the differences between cats and dogs.
More Statistics on Dogs
Cynophobia, Also Referred to As Fear of Dogs Is Common in 3% of the Population (Healthline)
Perhaps not as popular as arachnophobia (fear of spiders); however, cynophobia affects 7 to 9% of the population. This fear is extreme and interferes with daily life and has physical symptoms.
Ultimately, 40,000 People Are Interested in Dogfighting (Doggie Designer, HSUS)
Yes, 40,000 people support dog fighting rings and betting. Anyone who sees dog fighting in progress is encouraged to call 911. Get involved, and you might get a $5000 reward.
Dog fighting is a true blood sport that needs to end. Learn more about how to spot dog fighting rings and the people responsible.
Dogs Are the Most Common Victims (65%) of Animal Abuse (Fabiosa, PetHelpful)
We love them, yet dogs are cruelly victimized and suffer 65% of all animal abuse incidents. The crimes people inflict on dogs are absolutely horrific and should be punished with stiffer fines and jail time. People who behave cruelly towards animals often inflict violence on people too.
Statistics suggest that men under 30 years are more likely to abuse animals, while women over 60 tend to hurt and neglect animals through hoarding.
Almost 91% of Americans Think That Dog Parks Are Advantageous to the Societies (the New York Times)
Anyone who’s ever traveled to the UK envies Brits for their open dog policy. Dogs are pretty much welcome everywhere. The New York Times article ‘The Dog Park is Bad, Actually’ is an attention-grabbing headline, and much of the text is misleading.
However, 91% of Americans agree dog parks are a great way for dogs to experience the outdoors.
The Number of Black Dogs Adopted Back in 2020 Is Just 35 (Towards Data Science)
It’s true, but people have weird ideas about black dogs and cats. There’s even a syndrome (created by ASPCA 2000s). The syndrome is that would-be adoptive pet parents overlook black animals. People believe black dogs are more aggressive, thanks to the movie industry. And black cats can’t shake the witchcraft nonsense.
Since then, Black Cat and Black Dog Appreciation Days have helped make people aware of this discriminatory behavior. Find out more about how we statistically choose pets by color.
Dog News Statistics
Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers Are the Most Popular Breeds in the US (AKC)
Old news, Labrador Retrievers are the #1 dog breed in America. This Canadian breed has stolen people’s hearts since 1991 as the first choice. Oddly enough, they come in black, yellow, and chocolate (liver).
For 2021, Americans also chose French Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Poodles. This list does not include designer or mixed breeds.
Dogs Are the Most Commonly Stolen Pets, With an Average of 2 Million Stolen Each Year (AKC)
One must wonder why dogs like us, after all, we put them through. According to alarming figures, dog theft is on the rise. High-price tag dogs like Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and smaller breeds like Yorkies and Chihuahuas are easy targets.
Dogs Are Involved in Over a Million Dog Bites Annually (HSUS)
The numbers are frightening and potentially preventable. Dogs bite for several reasons, and even gentle dogs can bite unexpectedly. Bite Prevention Week is a great vehicle to educate and prevent more than 4.5 million yearly dog bite events.
Dog bites have devastating effects on the victim and the dog.
Dog Show Statistics
Over 3,000 AKC-Sanctioned Dog Shows Are Held in the US Yearly (AKC)
The mindset is always about producing the best in show. AKC dog shows are about crowning the best in a dog breed. The winning dog is the one that conforms the closest to the breed standard. Dog shows can be small or large events that feature one or more breeds and as many as 3000 contestants.
Hey, remember, 25% of dogs in the shelter are purebreds. Just saying!
In AKC Dog Shows, Around 1.2 Million Dogs Compete Each Year (AKC)
The concept started in September of 1884 when the Club of Clubs was formed. Today, the AKC has 190 dog breeds on its roster.
However, the AKC doesn’t recognize many international breeds and new designer breeds like Labradoodles, Puggles, and other mixed breeds. Its public standing is diminishing and set to lose millions in registration fees.
The Longest and Most Prestigious Running Show Is the Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Being Held Since 1877 in New York City (Westminster Kennel Club)
One doesn’t have to be a dog lover to know that the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the most prestigious event for registered breeds in America. The first WKCDS occurred in 1877 and was a triumphant success and set the tone. The rest, as they say, is history!
Being Part of the Audience and Participants, More Than 1 Million People Attend Dog Shows Annually (AKC)
Anyone is invited to attend dog shows as a spectator. It’s a great way to see rare breeds perform in the conformation ring and get access to referrals and trainers.
To attend as a participant, you must have an AKC-registered dog, fill out an entry form and pay the applicable fees.
How Many Dogs Are in the US?
According to AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), there are 76,811,305 dogs.
How Long Do Dogs Live?
The average lifespan for a dog is 10 to 13 years.
How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat?
Females stay in estrus on average between 1.5 to 2 weeks.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
It depends on the type of dog, activity, and age. Puppies need about 5-6% of their body weight from specifically formulated puppy food. Adults get about 2-3% of their weight, depending on their activity levels. Talk to your vet.
How Much Do Dogs Sleep?
Like people, every dog is different, but on average, they need 8 to 13.5 hours of sleep daily.
How Much Does It Cost To Spay/Neuter a Dog?
It depends on where you live, the vet clinic, and the procedure. Also, females cost more, and other health conditions impact the cost. Expect to pay from $50 to $500.
What Percentage of Dog Owners Are Female?
Percentages may change, but currently, figures suggest that 58% of canine owners are female.
What State Has the Most Dog Owners?
Montana and Arkansas have the highest number of owners, with 52%.
Americans love their dogs, but there’s room for improvement. Animal shelter numbers are concerning, and without organizations like the Humane Society and The ASPCA, life would end tragically for many pets.
Before bringing home a dog, do your research. Don’t buy a puppy mill pet, or buy a dog breed prone to poor health from genetic engineering. Opt to adopt from an animal shelter or foster a pet.