Where most dog owners live, and the Surprising Reasons Why

Some states clearly stand out as having more dog owners living there. The top five are:

  1. Idho
  2. Montana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Mississippi
  5. West Virginia

This may change over time as other major cities become increasingly dog friendly and employers in city areas welcome employees to take their dogs to work.

Americans have always loved their dogs. Some areas are more likely to have dogs in their home than others, and the numbers are growing, ensuring dogs remain the most popular pet.

Idaho has the highest number of dog ownership at over 58 percent of their households.

Montana and West Virginia follow closely behind, with both having over 51 percent of dog ownerships in their state populations.

The District of Columbia has the lowest percentage of dog ownership at around 23 percent, and prefer cats to dogs as pets.


Some States Love Their Dogs

The states with the highest number of dog ownership per household are as follows.

  • Idaho – 58%
  • Montana – 52%
  • Arkansas  – 52%
  • Mississippi – 51%
  • West Virginia – 50%
  • Indiana – 49%
  • Oklahoma – 48%
  • Colorado – 47%
  • Nebraska – 47%
  • Tennessee – 47%

Some other states don’t have many dog owners per household at all compared to the top ones. New Hampshire and Connecticut tie for the lowest dog ownership at just 24%.


More Dog Owners Live in the US

More and more Americans are becoming dog owners, and many states and cities have a sizable percentage of households with dogs.

To prove their love affair with man’s best friend, the US also has the most dogs overall than any other country in the world.

In fact, the US has significantly more dogs than all other countries. The breakdown of the top five is:

  • United States – 70,929,000
  • China- 27,400,000
  • Russia – 12,500,000
  • Japan- 12,000,000
  • Phillipines – 11,500,000

These figures are as accurate as the statistics can show, but one of the reasons the US is so far ahead is due to the accuracy achievable when dogs are required to be registered. This isn’t the case in many other countries.


Dog Treat Spending Shows Dog Population

Although not accurate like statistical data, interesting results can be found when you look at the areas where people spend money on dog treats.

There are too many variables to take this too seriously, but it’s a fun exercise, and you will notice, the results do correspond to the states with the most households with dogs.

The northern area of the midwestspends the most on dog treats. These areas include:

  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota

An interesting fact about the households who spend more on dog treats is they are middle class, attended college, and don’t have children. These are important points that you will see as we go.


Individual Cities Stand Out for Dog Ownership

The city with the most dogs per capita is Seattle with around 247 dogs per 1000 people. Those numbers don’t necessarily translate into more ownership (they may have many owners with multiple dogs,) but it does show a propensity toward dog ownership in Seattle.

Tel Aviv in Israel has the third most dogs per head of population outside of the US. This is behind Seattle and Miami.

Tel Aviv comes out on top for having more dog specific parks and vets than any other city. That shows although ownership numbers are a great way to determine dog popularity, there are many other factors to look into as well.


The EU Also Loves Dogs

Outside of the US, the European Union has many countries that have high levels of dog ownership. The top five countries in the EU who lead the way by percentage of households are:

  • Romania – 46%
  • Czechia – 41%
  • Poland – 39%
  • Portugal – 38%
  • Lithuania – 37%


Dog Numbers versus Cats

In some states, dog ownership is much more popular than their nearest animal rival, cats. In the South and Southwest of the US, dogsalways outnumber cats in households.

The state where dogs outnumber cats the most is Arkansas.

The top five states where dogs outnumber cats the most are:

  • Arkansas
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Oaklahoma
  • Louisana

In countries like India, dogs outnumber cats 10 to 1.


Trend of Dogs in the City

Dogs are popular for city dwellers, and their numbers increase each year, to the point pets like dogs are becoming more common than children in many cities.

There are about 600,000 dogs living in New York alone. In San Francisco there are about 150,000 dogs, and only 115,000 children under the age of 18.

Dog ownership among men and woman who live alone has been growing since the early 2000’s.

Dogs will always be popular in rural places, but if the trend of dogs in cities continues, more and more canine specific services will be seen, and dog ownership in cities will grow.

If you look at Portland, you will find over 33 dog parks alone. They also have their own social network for dog owners to stay in the loop. There are even bars in Portland where you can take your dog while you have a drink.

Other places that have resources and canine related services designed to attract dog owners to their cities are:

  • Chicago – with a dedicated dog beach and restaurants that put water out for thirsty dogs, Chicago is very dog friendly.
  • Austin – dog yoga anyone? There is a fast food truck for dogs, and many restaurants allow dogs on the balcony.
  • San Francisco – home to an annual festival for dogs, and you can take your dog into some gyms and restaurants.
  • Colorado – Dogs are welcome on many dog trails that would be canine free in most other places.
  • Boston – Dog-friendly bars, public transport, and plenty of dog-friendly apartments make life much easier for the dog owner.
  • Tucson – Has wide open spaces for trampers that allow dogs to join in the fun.
  • Albuquerque – There are a lot of dog-specific parks here, but considering there are so many dog-friendly areas, you don’t actually need to travel far to exercise your dog and spend the day in the sun.

The shift to cities that includedog-friendly green spaces, laws that allow dogs in bars and restaurants and hiking trails, will certainly see a definite shift in doggy demographics and where dog owners decide to call home.

Many workplaces have been offering employees the opportunity to take their dog to work. In the cities where doggy day-care is expensive, this may also see a shift in where dog owners live. It may even convince some city residents to get a dog if their job was a factor preventing them from getting one.


Changes to Dog Homes May See a Change to Breeds

An interesting change to this pattern of where dogs live may show in the breeds that become popular. As more people in the city get dogs because cities and states become increasingly dog-friendly, the breeds that suit city living may become the top breeds.

Usually cities mean apartment living or small spaces for homes, so the following breeds may top the list of popular breeds as they suit city and apartment living.

  • Basenji – These dogs were once used for hunting, but not so much now. They love families and don’t bark much, so very good for city living.
  • Boston Terrier – These small dogs adapt to any environment, and although they require a brisk daily walk, they are great in small spaces.
  • Shih Tzu – Charming personalities and gentle natures make these dogs popular for city living. They do need training and discipline, but don’t require long walks. They are happy with short excursions.
  • Bichon Frise – Very small bundles of energy, but perfect for small spaces. They love the park, so it gives you an excuse to go and distress after a day at work.
  • Chihuahua – Small breed and very adaptable to small space living. They like exercise, but due to their small stature, it’s not much compared to most other breeds.


The Bottom Line on Where Dog Owners Live

Although there are some locations that clearly stand out as popular for dog owners to live, it is an ever-changing landscape.

With cities becoming increasingly dog friendly, and employers adapting to attract dog owners as employees, we may see a big change to where dog owners reside.

Add to this mix millennials who are having more pets than children; it is a very exciting time in the dog world.


Writer: Craig Taylor

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