Did you know that for every 1000 people there are almost 274 dogs? Statistics also tell us that the United States has the maximum number of dog population per capita in the world. From the renowned Golden Retriever, Labrador and German Shepherd to the rustic Mutt, the dog economy is made up of both, pet dogs and free-ranging dogs. But how many dogs in the world are there right now? Is it even possible to count the total dogs in the entire planet?
These questions are reasonable, and to get answers for such questions, we’ll have to first learn about the organizations that make dog breeds their whole and sole business – the canine registry groups of the world.
Why these groups? Well, dogs are the first species to be tamed and one of the most successful and diverse species on the planet. They’re found in almost every country and region around this globe, and many of these places have special breeds that originated in these regions with particular traits and characteristics native to the area.
So, this means, even if you know dozens of dog breeds, there are probably hundreds that you don’t know about.
Don’t worry, you will get a better picture regarding how many different dog breeds exist in the world once you take a look at these canine registries and the number of breeds recognized by each group.
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The canine registries governing bodies
To begin with, there are certain groups that govern the registration of dog breeds. Generally, these groups are localized to specific countries, like, the US-based governing body – the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Similarly, there are other groups, for instance, the Britain’s Kennel Club (KC), the
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in Belgium, and Europe’s Continental Kennel Club (CKC) that act as canine organisations in the respective countries.
What do these governing bodies govern? Good question!
A canine kennel club regulates dog breed standards and promotes registration of dogs through microchipping to provide it a permanent identification
Additionally These registries aim to advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, training and maintenance of purebred dogs. They are not-for-profit organizations that not only protect the health and well-being of all dogs but also promote responsible dog ownership.
What’s particularly interesting about these groups is that each one of them uses entirely different protocols and qualifications for breed determination. And, because of this reason, each of them recognize a different number of dog breeds.
Yes, you got it right, these variations make it a bit difficult to determine how many dogs in the world are truly there.
Since each of these organizations that keep track of dog breeds disagrees about the number, the actual figure of dog population varies in statistics.
For example, the US based kennel club, the AKC only recognizes 195 breeds, while the largest international organization of national kennel clubs in Belgium, the FCI recognizes 360 breeds officially.
Then, to add to all this, there are all the experimental and cross-breeds.
Additionally, there are stray dogs on streets and dogs in animal shelters as well.
So, for natural reasons, there isn’t an exact, worldwide, internationally agreed-upon number, but it would be okay to say there are roughly anywhere between 195 and 500 dog breeds in the world.
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What it takes to establish a new dog breed
Got you! I know your curious mind wants to on what basis the above mentioned kennel clubs decide and register a dog as a purebred.
Thousands of years ago, there were only dogs and no breeds. Then, just 200 years ago, there was a very limited number of different breeds.
It was only during the Victorian era that the breed trend has started taking roots. Creating your own dog breed crossing various dog types had become popular, and that’s when the number of breeds started to grow.
But that doesn’t mean every created breed would ever be recognized by any of the world’s canine governing bodies. Getting a breed recognized and registered by these kennel clubs is a long and complicated process.
Before a group of dogs can be considered a breed by most federations, the breed must meet certain requirements such as popularity, breed history, and total population.
If the breed isn’t popular enough or there isn’t any history to prove its existence in time, no clubs will recognize it.
For instance, the AKC registers a breed if it qualifies one of the many rules that the breed must have existed for at least three generations.
Furthermore, national canine federations specific to that breed must exist and have at least 100 members throughout and no less than in total 20 states. Yep, some of these requirements and eligibilities get very specific.
Once a breed is recognized by the governing body, they are officially classified and registered under these seven categories – working dog group, sporting dog/non-sporting dog group, herding dog group, terrier dog group, hound dog group, and toy dog group.
If a breed doesn’t meet certain qualifications and is on its way of seeking true recognition, the breed will join the “miscellaneous” class.
This struggling breed must then compete in dog shows under the “miscellaneous” class for at least three years before the board of directors will review the breed for eligibility in the registry and to finally become fully recognized.
What a laborious and time-consuming process! Woof.
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Before we could know how many dogs in the world are there at present, let’s learn about dog census.
Who is keeping a count of the number of pet dogs in the world? How many times is a survey conducted tso find out the stray dog population in a city?
I have done a thorough research and have managed to find answers to these valid questions.
Firstly, in the US the pet dog data is collected by various groups like the American Community Survey, County Business Patterns and American Housing Survey.
Also, the WHO lately surveyed the stray dog count in US and gathered information with the help of various animal shelters and non-profit local authorities.
On the other hand, in countries like India, the animal censuses are conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying department of the government where various species of animals, including dogs, are counted in particular sites in rural and urban areas.
So, in short, every country has its own way to analyse the dog population through surveys and programs conducted by census bureaus, kennel clubs, governments, local administrations, and non-profit organizations.
In more or less every country, the dog census is generally carried out every 5 to 10 years.
How many dogs in the world are there right now ?
- Statistics say that there are around 900 million dogs worldwide.
- There are over 600 million pet dogs in the whole world.
- The WHO estimates over 200 million stray dogs worldwide.
- China and US are debated to have the highest number of dogs, about 110 and 90 million dogs respectively.
- Russia has the second highest dog population, roughly 15 million dogs.
- India has a pet dog population of around 20 million.
- The American Kennel Club currently recognizes 197 dog breeds.
- There are total seven dog categories recognized by the American Kennel Club.
- The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes the maximum number of dog breeds, a total of 360 dog breeds.
- Around 75-85% of the worldwide dog population is free-ranging.
- As per records, there are 35 wild dog species worldwide.
- In 2021, the most popular and trending dog breed was the Labrador Retriever.
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With many unregistered dogs, illegal cross-breeding, designer dogs, and a myriad of stray dogs, it is difficult to know exactly how many dogs in the world are there right now.
Besides, each canine registration governing body identifies a different number of official breeds, with the FCI recognizing the most breeds as an absolute 360.
So, we can conclude that currently there are at least this many dog breeds in existence throughout the world.
And, as I finish this blog today, another 50,000 puppies have been added to the world’s dog population.
Share this very informative article with all the dog lovers out there !