Dog States vs Cat States: States With The Most Dogs

By Kathy Morris
Jan. 3, 2023
Fact Checked
Cite This Webpage Zippia. "Dog States vs Cat States: States With The Most Dogs" Jan. 3, 2023,


Dog vs Cat States Research Summary

  • Arkansas is the biggest dog-lover state out there, with 48% of the population owning a dog.

  • Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of dog owners in the US, at only 24%.

  • Only 9 states have more cat owners than dog owners- 5 of them are in the northeast.

  • The Labrador is the most popular dog in 45 states.

About 89 million Americans own a dog. Which means tens of millions of Americans come home from work to a fluffy, adoring canine companion.

Pet ownership is becoming more and more common. The American Pet Products Association estimates the number of pets has doubled since 1988 and continues to rise. 2-out-of-5 houses now own a pup.

While dogs can enrich your life, they also soak up a lot of your time and money. Since Americans are spending a tidy bit of their paycheck on their canine companions, Zippia doggedly hit the data to investigate US dog ownership.

Other Interesting Findings

  • 85 million or 67% of American homes include a pet.

  • 63.4 million or 53% of American households own dogs.

  • Most homes only own one dog. Sorry fido, no friend for you.

  • $1,126 is the average amount pet-owning household spends on their pets each year.

  • Married couples with no children spent the most on their pets, while couples with young kids spend the least.

  • Southern states dominate the top 10, while Northeastern states are in the bottom 10.


We used several data sources to get a full-picture look at dog ownership in the US. We used data from the American Veterinary Medical Association for the percentage of pet-owning homes, and the breakdown between cat and dog ownership.

We turned to the American Kennel Club to learn each state’s favorite dog. Finally, we used the BLS TED data to breakdown pet spending by household.

What state has the most dog ownership?

Arkansas is for (dog) lovers. 48% of households in the “nature state” own a dog. This means Arkansans are more likely than any other state to come to a dog. On the lower end, we have Massachusetts, where only 24% of households have a pet dog.

One huge geographic trend? North versus south: Southern states have an extremely high rate of dog ownership and dominate the top 10. Meanwhile, northeastern states cling to the bottom. This could be due to a combination of population density and weather. Walking your dog in a foot of snow isn’t fun, and might dissuade Northeasterners from taking the plunge into dog ownership.

You can see states with a high percentage of dog owners for the most part still own a much higher percentage of dogs than cats. What is interesting is New Englanders may not own a great number of dogs, but do dominate cat ownership. Maybe they enjoy having a pet that doesn’t need to go outside for a bathroom break during a blizzard. Or maybe they simply appreciate the gentler, less adamant affection of cats.

Let’s check out the type of dog most popular in each of these states:

America loves Labrador retrievers! While a handful of states buck the trend, there is no doubt that America’s most popular dog is the lab. Of course, there are plenty of other good boys on the map, including the German Shepherd, beagle, and French Bulldog.

Of course, as any dog owner knows, dogs mean money. So let’s see how much green households our spending on their doggo.


The above data is for all pet types, in case any dog owners are startled to see such a low number (Which equals one emergency vet visit.) This means some goldfish could be driving down the number. However, it does highlight some interesting trends.

One is that married couples without children spending some of that free cash spoiling their pooch. When couples have children their spending goes down, particularly when the children are under 6. Once their children reach adulthood, they once again flourish their dog with material love.

The States That Own The Most Dogs

There you have it- the south is a dog haven, while New England is purr-fect for cat lovers. Of course, many pet owners own both, but dog ownership is highest in the southern region.

Overall, dog ownership in the US is trending up. While some states have a greater percentage of dogs than others, dog owners in all states are growing and no doubt adore their pups equally. If you doubt it, just check out the chart of how much they spend on their dogs each year gain.

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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Topics: Food, Study