Dog Sources

Dog Ownership By the Numbers

In order to get a definitive picture of how many dogs there are in America and where they come from, the Protect Pet Choice Alliance commissioned the Moore Research Group to conduct a nationwide study. The results showed there are currently 89 million dogs owned in the U.S. and more than 4 in 10 American households currently own a dog.

Sources of Pet Dogs

If dogs present in household, "Where did you get your dog(s)?" (Q3, N = 666)

  • Friend or Neighbor
  • Animal Shelter
  • Small Local Dog Breeder
  • Pet Store
  • On the Streets / Found / Stray
  • Internet
  • Rescue / a Rescue Operation
  • Family Member
  • Another Dog in My Household
  • Private Party
  • Don't Know
  • 0%
  • 10%
  • 20%
  • 30%
  • 40%
34%
26%
22%
7%
5%
3%
3%
3%
2%
2%
6%

Puppy Sources

If dogs present in household, "Do you know where your dog(s) came from, as puppies?" (Q4, N = 666)

  • Small Local Dog Breeder
  • Friend or Neighbor
  • Animal Shelter
  • Another Dog in My Household
  • Pet Store
  • On the Streets / Found / Stray
  • Private Party
  • Internet
  • Family Member
  • Overseas
  • Don't Know
  • 0%
  • 15%
  • 30%
  • 45%
  • 60%
19%
17%
4%
4%
2%
2%
1%
1%
1%
1%
52%
A mother and daughter play with their bichon frise
Different families have different needs. Licensed breeders of non-shedding pets, like this bichon frise, allow families with allergies to enjoy the love of a pet.

The Protect Pet Choice Alliance also commissioned Mississippi State University to conduct a nationwide study of shelters to gain information on how many dogs are entering shelters and what happens to them after they do. The study found 5.5 million dogs enter shelters each year. Of those, 969 thousand are lucky enough to be reunited with their owners, 778 thousand are transferred, many to different rescues and shelters to help meet demand in other areas and, because they are doing such a good job more of their lives are being saved than ever before, with 776 thousand being put down compared to millions a few decades ago. That leaves 2.6 million dogs available for adoption. The results of this study, coupled with the survey on the sources of dogs demonstrate a significant need for responsibly bred dogs. According to the Moore study, Americans own roughly 89 million dogs. With the average life-span of a dog being 11 years, this indicates a need for 8.1 million dogs per year just to maintain current levels of ownership. With only 2.6 million dogs being adopted out of shelters each year and far fewer transferred or euthanized, that means 5.5 more must come from other sources.