Pet Adoption: The Numbers Behind the Need

Pet Adoption: The Numbers Behind the Need


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Each year millions of companion animals enter shelters. Hundreds of thousands are currently in need of homes. It can be tough to grasp the size of the issue when talking about numbers so large, so here’s a visual representation of some of the key facts about pet homelessness in North America.


  • 7.6 Million companion animals enter shelters each year.
  • 53% of the adoptable pets in North America are dogs.
  • 3,900,000 dogs enter animal shelters every year.
  • of those 1,200,000 (or 30%) are euthenized (down from 65% in 1997).
  • 60% of all households in the US have at least on pet.

Getting people to adopt animals isn't the whole story. About 20% of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted that dog from a shelter earlier. The challenge is finding lifetime homes for these pets.

The average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog is less than most people may think: ONLY $400 TO $700 A YEAR.

  • 86% of visitors to select a specific animal type.
  • 25% of dogs that enter animal shelters are purebred.
  • 51% of visitors to search for specific breeds.

Give a Dog a Permanent Home Today works with 12,089 adoption groups across North America to find homes for companion animals. As of May 25, 2016 there were 129,224 dogs available for adoption on

  • 17,169 Labrador Retrievers
  • 16,841 Pit Bull Terriers
  • 11,467 Chihuahuas
  • 8,985 Shepherds
  • 5,011 Boxers
  • 4,324 American Staffordshire Terriers

Common breeds on as of May 25, 2016

You're Not Alone in Wanting Specific Breed Traits in Your Adopted Dog

Top 10 searched dog breeds on Petfinder as of Feb. 2016

  1. Poodle
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Labrador Retriever
  5. Dachshund
  6. Shih Tzu
  7. Yorkie
  8. Australian Shepherd
  9. Chihuahua
  10. Boxer

Petfinder Foundation

Orvis has partnered with the Petfinder Foundation to help animal shelters and rescue groups find loving homes for dogs in need. Want to learn more? Visit to find out how people like you have helped change the lives of homeless pets.