Paws and Claws Around the World: Global Pet Ownership Trends


The bond between humans and their pets is a universal phenomenon, yet the preference for cats or dogs can vary significantly across different regions. Recent data and studies provide insights into these preferences and the factors influencing them.

Pet Ownership by Numbers

The United States leads the way in both dog (approximately 69.9 million) and cat ownership (about 74 million)​​. Brazil follows with around 35 million dogs, while China boasts approximately 53 million pet cats​​. In Europe, almost 46% of households own a pet, with France leading in cat ownership with nearly 15 million cats​​.

Cats vs. Dogs

According to a study by Budget Direct, cats are more popular than dogs in 91 countries, while dogs are more popular in 76 countries. This data was gathered by analyzing Instagram posts tagged with cat and dog-related hashtags across different regions. The United States, Australia, and the UK predominantly favor dogs, whereas countries like Canada, China, and Russia lean more towards cats.

Pets Vs Dogs World Map

Source: Budget Direct Pet Insurance

Factors Influencing Pet Ownership

Rising income levels, demographic changes, and the Covid-19 pandemic have driven more people to adopt pets. In China, pet ownership increased 113% between 2014 and 2019, and by 2024, it is estimated that China will have the most pets in the world​​.

Economic Aspects of Pet Ownership

In the U.S., the pet industry expenditures were $136.8 billion in 2022, with significant spending on pet food and veterinary care​​. This indicates the economic impact of pets and the value they hold in our lives.

Regional Preferences

The U.S. and Brazil predominantly favor dogs, while China and France are inclined towards cats. This variation is attributed to cultural preferences, living conditions, and lifestyle choices. In densely populated areas, smaller pets like cats or birds are more popular due to their lower maintenance needs.

The Future of Pet Ownership

The pet industry is projected to become a $200 billion industry by 2030. Advances in technology and a rising demand for sustainable pet products will likely shape future trends in pet ownership​​.

The world of pet ownership is diverse, with cultural, economic, and demographic factors playing a significant role in whether households choose cats or dogs. Regardless of the type of pet, the joy and companionship they bring remain universally valued.

This article is supported by ALMASCOTAS (BARCELONA), a company offering pet cremation services.


Which country has the highest number of pet dogs?

The United States has the highest number of pet dogs, approximately 69.9 million.

Which country prefers cats over dogs?

China is one of the countries that prefer cats over dogs, with around 53 million pet cats.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected pet ownership?

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased pet ownership, with countries like Australia adopting over a million pets during the pandemic.

What is the projected value of the pet industry by 2030?

The pet industry is projected to become a $200 billion industry by 2030.

Are cats more popular than dogs worldwide?

Cats are more popular in 91 countries, while dogs are more popular in 76 countries, based on Instagram hashtag analysis.

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