Special Report

States With the Most Dogs

Dogs are the most popular pets in America. Almost 50 million households have at least one, according to the most recent data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. There are many reasons for this: dogs are excellent companions, they’re famously loyal, and there are numerous breeds to choose from. These range from toy dogs that could almost fit in your pocket to guard dogs that keep you safe at night. (If small ones are your preference, these are the tiniest dog breeds in the U.S.)

Every president in recent history except Donald Trump has had at least one dog. (Joe Biden moved his two German Shepherds, Champ and Major, into the White House in early January, but moved them out again in May after Major reportedly nipped a security agent. Champ died in June at the age of 13. These are 27 of the most famous presidential pets since the 1900s.

The extent of dog ownership varies from place to place. To compile a list of the states with the most dogs, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, published in 2020 by the American Veterinary Medical Association for companion animal veterinarians and the animal health industry. Collected in 2017-2018, the data is the most recent available, reflecting the total number of households and the number and percentage of dog-owning households in the 48 contiguous states as of December 31, 2016.

Some trends are clear from the list: Dogs are particularly popular in the mountain, Midwest and Southern states. The top five dog-loving states are Idaho, Montana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia — all fairly rural, low-density states where people live in single-family homes rather than apartments. 

Click here to see the states with the most dogs.

Dogs seem to be less popular in the Northeast. The bottom six states on our list are New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts. That’s not to say that people don’t love dogs in the region. Almost a quarter of the households in New Hampshire and Connecticut have at least one canine resident, as do more than a quarter of the other four.