Each municipality can dictate how many dogs are allowed within a single household, and the figure varies widely around the country. Regardless of laws, you should keep only as many dogs as you can safely take care of. Weigh your budget, your home and time availability. Obviously, if you can't afford vet care for multiple dogs or don't have enough space or time for them, keeping fewer dogs is the better idea.
How Many Dogs Can A Person Own?
House vs. Apartment
Some cities' regulations regarding maximum number of dogs allowable at a home are based on property type. For example, the city of Sausalito in California permits no more than three dogs older than 4 months in any type of living accommodation, including houses, lots and even boats. On the other hand, the city of Dallas permits up to four dogs and cats in any combination -- two dogs and two cats, or four dogs, or three cats and one dog -- in an apartment or townhouse but up to six in a single-family home.
How Dog Size Impacts Regulations
Some cities limit maximum allowable number of dogs based on size. These can be controversial measures. For example, some cities limit the number of "large dogs" you can own but don't specify what "large" means. Other municipalities are more specific. For example, the city of Marion in South Dakota limits the number of dogs to four in a single household as long as at least two of those dogs weigh less than 25 pounds.
Even within a single city, laws vary from area to area based on nuisance regulations and zoning. For example, some areas within the city might limit the number of dogs to avoid barking and noise -- but the same city might allow a larger number if you live in the outskirts or own a large property, where the dogs will not disturb the neighbors. Properties zoned for estates or agriculture would logically be less restrictive than those zoned for urban and suburban settings.
Some cities don't count litters of puppies in their laws. In such a case, if your male and female have puppies, the puppies won't be included in the count until they reach a certain age. That age varies, but sometimes puppies don't count against the local law until they pass weaning age, others when they become adults. In some cities, it might be possible to obtain a special permit if you want to keep a larger number of animals. That's the case in the City of Roeland Park, Kansas, where, at the time of publication, you could pay $100 to keep more than two dogs older than 6 months in your home.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.