How Many Dogs Are In The World

How Many Dogs Are In The World? Born Vs Adopted Vs Euthanized

Have you ever wondered about a world without dogs? Who would become man’s best friend? From royalty to commoners, everyone has some space for these wonderful creatures.

One big question that however pops up when dogs are mentioned is  “how many dogs are in the world?” it may seem like an easy and straightforward question especially if it is asked rhetorically, but we will attempt to answer that question here.

How many dogs are in the world?

The estimated population of dogs all over the world right now is put at about 1 billion, yes you heard right! These numbers are scattered all over the world even to the most remote corners of the earth. These dogs are spread in different parts of the world with the largest concentration of registered dogs being in America. It is however important to note that majority of dogs in the world are not registered thus making it quite difficult to track their population per time.

Where And Since When Have They Been?

Someone once asked me where the first dog came from, well; I must confess that I am not privy to that information.

However, I can tell you that dogs have been an integral part of man’s history, this can still be seen today where a large number of families keep dogs as pets. It should, however, be noted that even though a lot of dogs are domesticated, the real majority roam around as free creatures.

Back in 2012, it was estimated that the population of dogs was over five hundred million, however, today, it is estimated to be close to 1 billion. It is not exactly an easy task trying to get the exact figure for the number of dogs in the different corners of the earth.

What Is The Real Number Of Free-Roaming Dogs?

Free-roaming dogs are those that are not confined to any space or rules.  They fall into different categories ranging from street dogs to stray dogs, federal dogs, and village dogs.

You may begin to wonder what the difference between feral dogs and stray dogs is; well the difference is quite clear.

Stray dogs are simply dogs that were once social before they became free-range by nature. Feral dogs, on the other hand, are dogs that were raised without real human interactions.

The current estimate of stray dogs according to the world health organization is currently put at 200 million. On the other hand, the population of free-range dogs is put at about 80 percent of the world’s total population.

How Many Dogs Are In Each Of The Continents Of The World?

As we rightly pointed out earlier, the way dogs are distributed all over the world varies from location to location. So also are the laws guiding the breeding and ownership of such creatures.  For instance, there are locations in the world where dogs are treated with rights and privileges, while there are places such as Nigeria where dogs are considered meat.  Yes, you heard that right! Determining the real number of dogs in different places can be easy or difficult depending on the strength of the animal laws governing such locations.

There are certain places where pet registration is not an option but compulsory, hence such a location may find it easy to ascertain the real numbers.

In other locations such as in the third world economies, this may be quite difficult to determine. However, we will make an attempt based on available information to determine this information here.

South America

We start with America which is still struggling with issues of socio-economic development. Here, you really won’t find the majority of the dogs functioning as pets.

The reason for this is simple; most of the dogs here are not registered. Here, Brazil and Argentina hold the reputation of having the highest population of pet dogs.

In Brazil, for instance, it is estimated that the pet dog population is around 30 million. Also, the total number of pet dogs in Brazil is put at around 35 million. Argentina, on the other hand, is believed to have about 8 million pet dogs while Columbia comes in third with about 6 million pet dogs.

The Continent Of Oceania

I feel a lot more should be done here as regards pet registration as well.  Dogs here just like in South America are mostly unregistered thus making it quite difficult to pinpoint the exact numbers.

Research carried out, however, indicates that there are an estimated 5 million pet dogs in Australia. It is also believed that about 3 million strays are roaming about the country.


Africa without a doubt holds a rather unique reputation of being a continent that boasts of a large array of creatures.

Dogs are certainly not scarce in supply in this continent with many households having dogs not just as pets but also as a part of the households. The big challenge with ascertaining the exact number here is that most dogs are not registered.

Except for a few countries in Africa such as Nigeria, South Africa, and Ethiopia that have data on this, most countries simply do not know how many.

It is on record that South Africa has around 10 million pet dogs, while Nigeria is within the same region.  There are an estimated 80 million pet dogs and an almost equal number of stray dogs in Africa.

There are however a few other interesting facts to note about dogs in Africa, here are a few of them;

  • Dogs are eaten in some places as meat: Man’s best friend sometimes becomes man’s best meal in some parts of Africa. There are certain places in Africa where dogs are reared for the simple purpose of eating them. In such locations, you do not expect to find a thriving population of dogs.
  • Dogs are used as medicines: when it comes to the use of dogs in Africa, it seems the list is endless. Certain cultures in Africa believe that dogs can be used to treat certain ailments. Certain parts of the dog’s body are used as components in local herbs. Some of the parts used include the skin, the bones and so on.
  • Fetish practices: dogs are also believed to have some fetish inclinations in Africa with some cultures sacrificing them to their ‘gods.’ Some even worship dogs while others simply use them as a medium of communicating with metaphysical forces.

In summary, dogs are a very integral component of African society even though getting exact figures isn’t altogether an easy task.

North America

Statistics of dogs here can be easily determined to owe to the spelled out laws governing pet ownership.

It is estimated that there are about 75 million dogs with about 43 million families in America having at least one of them. In Canada, it is estimated that there are about 7 million dogs as pets.

Dogs are certainly an integral part of American society with different dogs serving a different purposes.

You even have service dogs functioning as helps to challenged people in society. The rules governing the ownership and care of dogs here are quite strict; hence dogs tend to receive the best of care.


The world’s largest continent certainly doesn’t hold that reputation for humans alone as the dog population is quite large. This population is made even more interesting by the fact that most of the dogs here are unregistered and move around freely.

Take China, for instance, the population of pet dogs is estimated to be well above a hundred million. Beijing alone is estimated to have about a million dogs.

A Trip down to India shows us that there are over thirty million pet dogs with the strays put at over 20 million.  Japan is estimated to have about 10 million pet dogs.

Other parts of the continent also have millions of dogs both registered and otherwise. The bottom line here is that dogs are certainly a huge part of the Asian story, and it certainly does not look like the population will be dwindling anytime soon.


Currently, it is estimated that there about 85 million dogs in Europe with Germany holding the highest number of dogs at 9.4 million dogs.

Coming closely behind Germany is the United Kingdom with nine million dogs, Poland has 7.6 million, and Italy has 7 million while France has a total of 6.9 million dogs. Spain has 6.2 million, Romania has 4 million, and Portugal has 2 million while Czechia has 2 million dogs

A Few Things To Note About The Ecology Of Dogs

The interaction of the over one billion dogs scattered all over the world is one that should interest every animal lover. There are few things to consider as far as the interaction of dogs and their environment is concerned, here are a few of them:

Predators and competitors

It should first be noted that dogs are the most largely distributed carnivores on land. This, however, does not mean that they can compete with other carnivores for resources and this is mainly as a result of their relationship with human beings. 

It is however interesting to note that animals such as wolves are known to kill dogs wherever they are found together.

Even though the population of dogs killed by wolves is relatively low, it induces a fear of wolves invading towns and villages as it would mean one dead dog. Another animal known to attack dogs is big cats and Coyotes.

Important Statistic On Dogs In America: Born, Vs Adopted Vs Euthanized

There are about 3.3 million dogs that enter shelters in America each year. This means a drastic decline from about 3.9 million dogs that entered such shelters back in 2011.

Also, it is interesting to note that about 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year.

This means a sharp decline from figures gotten from previous years. This decline can be partly attributed to the surge in the number of stray dogs that have been relocated to their owners.

It is also important to note that about 1.6 million shelter dogs are adopted every year and about 620,000 dogs find their way to shelters as strays are reconnected to their owners each year.

Statistics also show that about 34 percent of dogs were bought from breeders while about 23 percent of them were gotten from an animal shelter.

Which Countries Have The Most Pet Dogs In The World?

I believe we have been able to establish the fact that dogs are scattered all over the world, but it is important to point out that there are countries with more dogs than others. Here is a well-researched list of some of these countries:

France (7.5  million)

France is reputed to have a dog-to-human ratio of 17 to 100 which is rated as one of the highest in the world. The population of dogs here is estimated to be around 7.5 million.

A large number of French folks claim that they love their dogs as much as they love their family members. It is also interesting to note that there are dog grooming houses in almost all the towns in France.

Although there is no licensing system on the ground for dogs here, all dogs that were born after 1999 are expected to wear a microchip that mentions their identity number.

Despite the reputation of the French being great lovers of dogs, it is estimated that about 100,000 dogs are left by their owners annually.  Many of these numbers are moved to local pounds to be euthanized.


There are over 4 million dogs in Romania with the issues of strays dating back to the 1980s when there was a massive rural-urban migration issue.

This led to dogs being abandoned in the street, which leads to a situation where these dogs were subjected to mass slaughter.

However, in 2008, an animal welfare law was passed to protect these creatures. This does not, however, mean that the issue of killing dogs in Romania has been killed with the government even stoking the embers of hatred against dogs at some point.


The population of dogs in Argentina seems to be on an upward trajectory! With an economy that is on a path of growth, an increasing number of its population seems to be taking interest in owning pet dogs. Also, the pet care market appears to be making great steps towards growth.

The increase in the pet population also seems to be further boosted by the fact that a large number of apartments in Argentina permit pets to be kept.

This has, in turn, encouraged more people to buy and adopt dogs as pets. Currently, there are about 10millon dogs in Argentina.


India is quite synonymous with stray dogs, they have even carved a unique reputation for themselves with most of them surviving on the streets.

They are even more unique because they have found a way to blend with the rather tolerant human population of the country.

In India, harming dogs is greatly frowned at, as a matter of fact, the Animal Birth Control Rules of 2001 clearly states that dogs are not to be killed to reduce their population.

There are however isolated instances where dogs become a victim of circumstance, but overall, the rights of dogs to live are well respected here. There are over ten million dogs in India.


Japan has a rather stunted population growth rate which can be largely attributed to the work-centered lifestyle of its populace.

This has had a rather negative toll on its population because fewer people are having time for the demands of parenthood.

As an alternative, many Japanese are an option to adopt pets instead of the pet population out-numbering the population of children in the country.

It is estimated that there are about 12 million dogs in Japan and they are mostly treated as a part of the family. This has also seen the pet industry in the Island Nation become a  multi-billion dollar one.

The Russian Federation

The stray and pet dog population in Russia is one that can best be described as large.  On record, there are about 15 million dogs in Russia.

Research shows that stray dogs in Russia are descendants of the ancient Russian packs that had their population curtailed during the Soviet era. 

The furs from such dogs were used in creating items such as caps while some of such strays were an object of scientific experimentation.


The Philippines has a rather undesirable record of being the country with the fourth-highest rate of rabies-related deaths in the world.

These situations lead to a situation where the country resorted to the massive culling of dogs, to reduce the effect of rabies. 

The current population of dogs in the Philippines is put at about 12 million with concerted efforts being made to solve the stray dog issue.

There are currently about 30 million dogs in China, 35 million in Brazil, and about eighty million dogs in America.

Final Note

It is not news that dogs are an important part of life as we know it today.  They are increasingly becoming more relevant to society with laws being enacted to ensure that their status in society is underscored.

This, however, does not eliminate the challenges dogs face all over the world. As regards how many dogs are in the world, we believe we have been able to comprehensively answer that.

From the look of things, it does not appear like their population would be abating anytime soon!