How Many Pets (Dogs/Cats) Can You Own in Maryland?

Two dogs and a black cat
Photo credit: Alexandra Bilham | Pexels

There’s no question that Maryland is a pet-friendly state. The first state to name a breed of dog as a state symbol was Maryland. In 1964, Maryland named the Chesapeake Bay Retriever as the state dog. The state bird of Maryland is the Baltimore Oriole, a small icterid blackbird. Maryland State Parks are dog-friendly, welcoming you and Fido to enjoy the great outdoors together!

What's more, pets are considered personal property under Maryland law. With all that being said, is there a limit to the number of pets you can own in Maryland? How many dogs or cats can you legally own in Maryland? These are frequently asked questions by law-abiding citizens of the Old Line State.

For starters, there is no statewide limit on the number of pets you can have in Maryland. At the city or county levels, however, there may be restrictions. Most municipalities have municipal codes regulating the maximum number of pets allowed in a home.

Depending on your specific location within the Free State, you may be able to get away with 5 dogs or cats. However, it is best to check with your city or town for specific ordinances regarding pet ownership. You may contact your local Animal Control, City Clerk, or search for your county's animal ordinance online.

In the meantime, see the pet limit laws in the following Maryland counties.


In Baltimore, MD, you are required to obtain a permit if you own more than three dogs or cats. As a pet owner in Baltimore, there are additional pet laws you'll want to be aware of. Per Baltimore County Code, all dogs and cats aged 4 months must be vaccinated and licensed. Ferret owners are also required to have their animals vaccinated. Additionally, all dogs and cats must wear a collar to which a license tag is securely attached.

Charles County

You can own 5 dogs and 5 cats, or any combination of both animals not exceeding 10 in total in Charles County, MD. According to the County Code, keeping any combination of more than 10 adult animals as pets requires an animal fancier's license, which is issued by the Charles County Division of Animal Control. Every dog, cat, and ferret four months of age is required to be inoculated for rabies. Additionally, every dog and cat owner must have their pet licensed.

Prince George's County

In Prince George's County, MD, the total number of companion animals you can keep in your household without a permit is four. By "companion animals," the County Code means dogs, cats, and ferrets. After acquiring a fifth animal, you have 30 days to obtain an annual Animal Hobby Permit for a $5 fee. The maximum number of companion animals allowed under the permit is 10. However, No permit shall be issued unless each ferret, dog, or cat is vaccinated and has a valid County license.

Washington County

If you live within Washington County limits, you are not allowed more than 5 dogs over the age of 4 months. The County Code does not restrict cat ownership, meaning cat people can own as many felines as they can afford. Within 30 days of assuming ownership of a fifth dog, you are required to obtain a kennel license. All dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies. A county license is also required for each dog living within Washington County, MD.

Are Any Dog Breeds Banned or Restricted in Maryland?

Under Maryland state law, no breed of dog is banned or restricted. Some counties, however, place restrictions on certain dog breeds in their Code of Ordinances. For example, Sec. 3-185.01 of Prince George's County Code of Ordinances states that "No person shall own, keep, or harbor a Pit Bull Terrier within the County." Nevertheless, on March 2, 2023, Fox5 reported that the ban wasn't being imposed, citing court documents.

Pit Bull Terriers are also banned in the Town of Edmonston, MD. The Town of Ridgely's Code declares pit bulls "dangerous dogs." Some counties have dangerous or vicious dog laws in lieu of breed-specific laws. Unlike a breed-specific law, a dangerous or vicious dog law focuses on dogs (of any breed) with a known propensity to attack without provocation.

Top 9 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Maryland

Maryland is pet-friendly in many ways and according to CBS News, virtually half of Marylanders own pets. However, CBS notes that Maryland criminal courts don't take the act of neglecting or abandoning pets seriously. Many people might find this concerning if they want to call Maryland home. According to the World Animal Foundation, the following breeds of dogs are the top nine most popular in Maryland as of 2024:
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • French Bulldog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Goldendoodle
  • Pembroke Welsh corgis
  • Havanese
  • Miniature schnauzers
  • Australian shepherds
The top eight dog parks in Maryland, according to Rover, include:
  • Broadneck Dog Park
  • Canton Dog Park
  • Cabin John Dog Park
  • Ellsworth Dog Park
  • Heurich Dog Park
  • Howards Park Dog Park
  • Locust Point Dog Park at Latrobe Park
  • Quiet Waters Park
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