Pet Ownership by Country (Dogs and Cats) | Mappr (2024)

It’s no secret that humans value their furry pets. In fact, as human populations grow, so do those of their canines and felines. When human societies thrive and are comfortable, they tend to welcome animals into their families and living situations more readily.

People like to have animals for friendship, a reason to exercise and socialize, and a boost to mental health. With the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and subsequent lockdowns worldwide, the yearning for animal companionship seemed to skyrocket. So it could be that numbers are even higher now than before COVID.

But just how many people own a dog? A cat? Below, we’ll break down dog ownership and cat ownership by country and show you the populations around the world who count dogs and cats as members of their homes.

Pet Populations by Country Rank

USA (#1 for Both Dogs and Cats)

Pet Ownership by Country (Dogs and Cats) | Mappr (1)
  • United States Dogs – 70 Million
  • United States Cats – 74 Million

The U.S. is the world leader in pet ownership of both dogs and cats. Americans don’t hold back on their love for their animals, either. They get professional photos done, throw them elaborate birthday parties, and even construct them their own living spaces within their humans’ homes.

More than half of U.S. citizens have a dog or cat in their household, meaning there’s a good chance you could open any random door in the neighborhood and meet a new furry friend. Out of those pet owners, nine out of ten consider their dog or cat to be a member of their family.

The U.S. as a country is welcoming and encouraging of this human-animal lifestyle. Dog parks, cat cafes, doggie daycare, pet-friendly travel accommodations, and the recent burgeoning of pet insurance options show Americans’ love for their animals isn’t slowing anytime soon.

Brazil (#2 for Dogs, #4 for Cats)

  • Brazilian Dogs – 35.8 Million
  • Brazilian Cats – 12.5 Million

The growing middle class in Brazil most likely contributes to the exploding popularity of pet ownership in recent decades. Interestingly, with the human population density so high in this country, it holds the lowest dog ownership per capita (but still tops the list in numerical stats). Considering the national birth rate, this means Brazilians have more pets than children!

Brazil owns the most small dogs of any population in the world. As an epicenter of biological interest, thanks to the Amazon Basin’s flourishing ecosystem, this country holds the most variety in animal species, including mammals, fish, birds, and insects.

Sadly, Brazil’s other side of animal life is not so sunny. The stray dog problem is rampant, and many dogs are simply abandoned when they reach senior status, and their owners don’t want to care for them anymore. In particular, the island of Greater Sao Paolo holds an enormous population of stray and abandoned pets who get sick and pass away without veterinary care.

China (#3 for Dogs, #2 for Cats)

  • Chinese Dogs – 27.4 Million
  • Chinese Cats – 53.1 Million

The pet industry in China has grown a whopping 2000% in the past decade. Though the Chinese population surpasses that of the U.S. by a factor of five, pet ownership in China actually topped the U.S. for one year in 2019.

About half of Chinese pet owners are less than 30 years old, leading researchers to believe that the younger generations are more open to the idea of sharing their living space with animals. This mirrors advancements in other areas, such as higher education and more cosmopolitan/urban living than their predecessors.

This shifting attitude towards pets would have been very surprising to the region earlier than the late 20th century. China has gotten a bad reputation in the past century or so for its emphasis on dog meat for human consumption.

Under Mao Zedong’s socialist rule, dog ownership was banned, and animal welfare was disregarded. Fortunately, as discussed earlier, this culture is rapidly evolving, and animals fare much better in China in the 21st century.

Russia (#4 for Dogs, #3 for Cats)

  • Russian Dogs – 12.5 Million
  • Russian Cats – 17.8 Million

Seeing as Russia has one of the greatest landmasses in the world for one country, it’s no surprise that it tops the list of most dense pet populations. More than half of Russians own a cat, and about one-third own a dog.

There is a significant feral-animal issue in cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, which means responsible pet owners should take special care to watch that their pets don’t eat poison or other entrapment measures off the sidewalk when out and about. Heavy traffic in these urban areas poses a safety problem to domestic pets too.

Japan (#5 for Dogs; #10 for Cats)

  • Japanese Dogs – 12 Million
  • Japanese Cats – 7.3 Million

While coming in at number four for dog populations, Japan ranks only number ten for cat populations. Unsurprisingly, both numbers rose during the coronavirus pandemic.

Living situations in Japan are not as naturally pet-friendly as, say, the United States. Due to cramped urban areas and a scarcity of dog parks, restaurants, and other welcoming environments, most Japanese opt for smaller pets when they can. More than two-thirds of Japanese dog owners choose small breeds, such as Pekingese or Shiba Inu.

Philippines (#6 for Dogs)

  • Filipino Dogs – 11.6 Million

With such high numbers of pet ownership in such a small country, it’s no shock that the Phillippines has strict pet regulations to ensure the island doesn’t become overcrowded with animals. Each household is limited to four pets, and owners must abide by rabies vaccination policies and other welfare measures.

Strangely, Filipino citizens aren’t crazy for cats, making it one of the only countries that tops the list in one animal ownership but not the other.

France (#5 for Cats; #10 for Dogs)

  • French Cats – 11.5 Million
  • French Dogs – 7.6 Million

It’s easy to imagine a scene of French urban dogs as they accompany their master to a cafe for a coffee and a cigarette. Poodles, papillons, and French bulldogs make up some of the most popular breeds in France. Over half of French citizens claim to own at least one pet, meaning that if the country were the size of the U.S., it would edge out our list in worldwide pet ownership!

India (#7 for Dogs)

  • Indian Dogs – 10.2 Million

Due to religious beliefs, some animals hold a sacred space in Indian culture. Most people are familiar with the Indian people’s reverence for cows, but it would seem that other species are rising in popularity as well. Unfortunately, the country’s love for pets is outgrowing its ability to keep up with policies that guard animal welfare, causing strife among urban communities.

Germany (#6 for Cats)

  • German Cats – 8.2 Million

The German population seems to be keener on felines than canines. There is speculation that the national dog tax affects Germans’ decision of which kind of pet to keep in their homes.

Argentina (#8 for Dogs)

  • Argentinian Dogs – 9.2 Million

Argentina boasts the highest number of dogs per capita, as well as the highest number of dogs in any Latin American country.

The UK (#9 for Dogs, #7 for Cats)

  • UK Dogs – 9 Million
  • UK Cats – 8 Million

Like many other countries, Great Britain saw an unprecedented rise in pet ownership during 2020 coronavirus lockdowns.

Italy (#8 for Cats)

  • Italian Cats – 7.4 Million

It is a policy in Italy that all pets must be microchipped. The culture may view this as a way of helping cut down on the stray animal problem in Italy. There is also a national registry where owners can enter their pets’ information for tracking purposes; 90% of Italian owners do this.

Ukraine (#9 for Cats)

  • Ukrainian Cats – 7.3 Million

Pets get a pass in Ukraine—this is one of the few countries where neither quarantine nor import permit is required to bring in a pet from out of the region!

Other Countries

After the top ten listed above, a few more countries appreciate both dogs and cats and round out the top 20 for both. Number 11 for both species is Poland. After that, both dogs and cats enjoy popularity in households in Spain, Romania, Australia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

A few more dog-loving countries that round out the top 20 include South Africa, Italy, Germany, and Ethiopia. Some top countries that prefer cats but not dogs are Argentina, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Belgium.

Fewest Pets

In places like the United States, we love our pets so much that it seems crazy that there could be regions that feel differently. But indeed, in several countries in the Middle East (such as Saudi Arabia), there is a strikingly low number of pet owners due to religious beliefs.

Indonesia and Egypt join this anti-pet culture, constituting fewer than two dogs per one thousand people. In the Maldives, pet ownership is banned!

What About Other Animals?

After dogs and cats—clearly the two most popular pet choices worldwide—there are also non-furry pets to consider. Fish make up the third most common choice for a pet at around 12%, followed by birds (6%).

Pet Ownership by Country (Dogs and Cats) | Mappr (2024)


Which countries prefer cats over dogs? ›

Cat-lover territory includes the huge territories of Canada (52.3% of cat or dog photos are cats), China (88.2% cats), and Russia (64% cats). The dogs take more continents, though. Dog posts outweigh cat posts across North and South America, Oceania, and Africa, while the cats take just Europe and Asia.

What country has the highest rate of pet ownership? ›

Without a doubt, the United States is the top country in the world for both dogs and cats.

Which country has the most cat ownership? ›

Top One: United States

Sitting at rank number one is the United States, which is recorded to have at least 76.5 million pet cats in total.

Which country has the most pet dogs? ›

The United States of America

The USA has the most dogs in the world per capita – as of 2021, there are 274 dogs for every 1000 people, and the vast majority of those are considered pets.

What country loves cats the most? ›

Since then, the royal grounds have become the Hermitage Museum, and though Russia no longer has queens, cats still reign supreme, both at the museum and in the people's hearts. A recent study of cat ownership in 52 countries found that Russians love cats more than anyone on the planet.

Do the British prefer cats or dogs? ›

According to a 2021/22 survey, dogs are the most commonly owned pet in UK households. The share of households reporting dog ownership stood at 34 percent. The second most common house pet among UK households were cats, with around 28 percent of respondents stating their ownership.

What percentage of Americans own cats? ›

As of 2022, 44.5% of U.S. households own dogs, and 29% of households own cats. Between 2016 and 2022, the percentage of U.S. households who own dogs increased by 6.1 percentage points, from 38.4% to 44.5%, while the percentage of households that own cats increased by 4 percentage points, from 25% to 29%.

What country has the least cats? ›

There are 300-600 million cats living in the world today. The USA has the most number of cats, followed by China and Russia. Latvia, Ireland, and Sweden are three countries, among many, with low numbers of household felines. The lowest cat ownership statistic goes to Spain and Greece, coming in at 10-15% of households.

What country has the most stray dogs and cats? ›

India has the largest street dog population on earth, with about 62 million stray dogs, and the largest number of rabies deaths in the world.

What country is full with cats? ›

Cats are believed to outnumber humans by ten to one on the tiny island of Ainoshima in Japan. They arrived here via the mice-infested boats of fishermen, who adopted them as pest control. Now they hang out on the harbourfront and enjoy generous snacks doled out by both sailors and increasing numbers of tourists.

What countries respect cats? ›

Little did I know that there are a bevy of cat-loving countries around the world to explore.
  • Japan. Tokyo, Japan is a veritable cat haven. ...
  • Russia. According to a 2017 study conducted by Dalia Research, over 59% of Russian households own a cat. ...
  • Turkey. ...
  • Malaysia.
Aug 4, 2018

What countries idolize cats? ›

The Japanese are known for loving cats. There are countless Japanese books, shows, and art that depict our feline friends. Japan even has a ton of cat cafes, which are coffee shops where cats freely roam around for customers to play with.

What is the dog capital of the world? ›

That is because America is by far the dog capital of the world. America has nearly double the amount of dogs as the 2nd leading country of Brazil. Here are the countries with the most dogs: USA – 75.8 million.

Which country has the least dogs? ›

Middle Eastern countries and Indonesia have some of the world's lowest per-capita dog rates, in part due to Islamic traditions that cast dogs as unclean. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Indonesia all have fewer than two dogs for every 1,000 people--the lowest per capita ownership rates of 53 countries surveyed by Euromonitor.

Where in the US has the most dogs? ›

States with the highest dog ownership rates in the U.S. 2022

Montana and Arkansas had the highest dog ownership rates in the United States, with 52 percent of households owning a dog in 2022.

How much of the world prefers cats over dogs? ›

Clearly, there are dog people and there are cat people. But it's not much of a contest: 74 percent of people like dogs a lot, and only 41 percent like cats a lot.

Why does Japan like cats more than dogs? ›

Cats are often cast in this protective role in Japanese folklore, where they can also symbolise good fortune. Tezuka noted that Japan's love of cats has more practical origins than America's admiration of dogs. “Cats have played a functional role in many cultures throughout history,” she said.

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