Dogs are the most common pet kept by the American household, which is reflected in guidelines that the federal government considered. Generally speaking, these guidelines and rules are mostly targeted toward urban settings, specifically dense urban settings, to cut down on the number of animals in that city. This provides a better life for the animals and reduces the number of nuisance complaints from neighbors and other residents of that community.
Courts have often found that too many dogs within a small space can cause odor, noise, and other noise that does not serve the community's best interest. While this may not be true for some people, it has been generally found that those who live in small areas and have a large number of pets in their living spaces do not care for the pets well, giving a poor quality of life for both the pets and the people around them. Furthermore, urban areas usually contain apartments, condos, and smaller units with strict rules regarding dog limits that must be adhered to. Because of this, there are no set rules but rather sentiments that should be echoed not just by states but by counties and municipalities alike.
Imposing minimums on a state level is difficult, so most restrictions are enforced by counties or even smaller communities if necessary. Although it is a growing trend, it is far from becoming a recognized course of action in many places. Also, enforcement of the number of dogs owned is extremely difficult as animal control does not knock on doors or conduct surveys for the number of animals but only relies on complaints or chance observances. States with a rural population that are laxer in their approach do not have these impositions, like most counties in Texas.
Thirty states have no state limit on the number of dogs that a household can own. Some of these states have restrictions in certain cities or municipalities. For example, most counties in Missouri limit the number of dogs per household to four, and most Nebraska counties set the limit at three dogs per household. Although Washington has a limit, because it is set so high (fifty dogs per household) it is unlikely that many households would reach that limit.
Tennessee sets its limit based on the number of acres the household is situated on. A house with two or more acres can have up to ten dogs while a house on a quarter to half an acre can have only four.
The remaining states allow a household to own one to six dogs. Some states set a limit for all pets in the household, so other animals would be included in this number. California allows a household to own more that the limit of four dogs if they apply for a kennel permit.
Dog Limit per Household
|Alabama||NoLimit||No limit in the number of dogs you own but you cannot keep more than 3 dogs outside at one time|
|Alaska||NoLimit||no state-wide laws|
|Arizona||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|California||4||Limit each household to 3 or 4 dogs over four months old. You can own more dogs than these limits, but doing so requires obtaining a kennel permit.|
|Colorado||NoLimit||no statewide law but most counties and cities limit each household to 4 adult dogs each.|
|Connecticut||6||no more than 6 adult (6 months or more old) dogs in a single residence|
|Florida||NoLimit||no legal parameter but owners of three or more dogs would need to follow special rules under a proposed law in the Sunshine State.|
|Idaho||NoLimit||no state-wide laws|
|Illinois||NoLimit||no state-wide laws|
|Indiana||NoLimit||no state-wide laws but some counties will limit you to 3 dogs|
|Iowa||6||6 adult dogs and/or cats, including pets|
|Kansas||NoLimit||no state-wide laws|
|Kentucky||NoLimit||no state-wide laws|
|Louisiana||12||12 dogs per enclosure|
|Maine||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Maryland||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Massachusetts||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Michigan||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Minnesota||NoLimit||Need a multiple animal permit if you own 4 or more dogs|
|Mississippi||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Missouri||NoLimit||no statewide law but most municipalities and counties limit each household to 4 dogs each|
|Montana||2||2 dogs and must have a multiple animal permit|
|Nebraska||NoLimit||no statewide law but most municipalities and counties limit each household to 3 dogs each|
|New Hampshire||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|New Jersey||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|New Mexico||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Ohio||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Oregon||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Pennsylvania||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Rhode Island||3||3 adult dogs|
|South Carolina||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|South Dakota||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Tennessee||10||One-quarter acre or less | 3 dogs One-quarter to one-half acree | 4 dogs One-half to three-quarter acre| 5 dogs Three-quarter to one acre | 6 dogs One to two acres | 8 dogs Two to three acres | 10 dogs|
|Vermont||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Virginia||NoLimit||no statewide law|
|Wyoming||NoLimit||no statewide law|