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

A cute English bulldog puppy

According to a recent report by USA Today, California is the best state for people traveling with their pets. Eleven California cities, including San Diego and Santa Barbara, have been ranked as the top pet-friendly vacation destinations. But wait, how many pets are actually allowed per household in the Golden State? For your information, California has no state-wide law limiting households to a specific number of pets. Don't get too excited though, counties and even cities in California have their own regulations.

That means the number of pets you can have in the Golden State depends on where you live and the regulations there. To find out how many pets are allowed in your locality, you can give your local animal control office a friendly call. Or, check your city's Code of Ordinances online. In the meantime, check out these California cities and the number of pets they allow per residence.

Los Angeles County

If you are a resident of Los Angeles County, you can have up to four dogs and five cats without a kennel license. The County Code requires that each cat be licensed and kept indoors. But before a license is issued, the cat must be vaccinated against rabies. Dogs are also required to be vaccinated in Los Angeles County. Spaying or neutering of dogs and cats is mandatory in LA County. If you wish not to spay or neuter your dogs or cats, you must acquire an unaltered dog or cat license.

San Diego County

San Diego County residents are allowed to have up to six dogs per residence. Anything more that is considered a kennel, which isn't allowed in residential zones. The County Code does not limit the number of cats you can own. All dogs four months of age in San Diego County must be vaccinated and licensed.

San Jose

In San Jose, CA, there is a legal limit of five pets per household. Of the 5 pets, no more than 3 can be dogs. But you can own 5 cats and 0 dogs. You can also have any of the following combinations of cats and dogs:
  • One dog and four cats
  • Two dogs and three cats
  • three dogs and two cats
If you are a dog person, the maximum number of dogs you can own in the city of San Jose is 3. Cat people, on the other hand, can have up to 5 cats in San Jose. As required by the City Code, San Jose dog owners must keep their dogs under direct physical restraint by a six-foot-long leash when the dog is in any public place.

San Francisco

For those in the city of San Francisco, the limit is four domestic animals per household. Animals that are permitted to be kept in San Francisco include but are not limited to dogs, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, hares, doves, pigeons, ducks, and rats. You can own a total of four of these animals in any combination. While all four animals can be cats, they can't be all dogs. Per the City Code, it shall be unlawful to keep more than three dogs. But if you want more, you can obtain a proper permit and license to do so.


If you reside in Clovis, Fresno County, you are allowed to keep a maximum of six pets on your premises. Of the six animals, 3 can be cats, 3 can be dogs, 3 can be reptiles, and 2 can be potbellied pigs. Any combination of these animals not exceeding 6 in total is allowed by the city.

Sacramento County

Sacramento County allows residents to have up to 4 cats and 4 dogs per residence. A special permit may be required if you wish to exceed those numbers, according to the county's Animal Care Services. All cat and dog owners in Sacramento County are required to license their animals. When off of their owner's premises, dogs must be kept on a leash.

Long Beach

The City of Long Beach limits the keeping of household pets to 4 animals per household. This limitation, however, does not apply to kittens and puppies under the age of four months. It also does not apply to rodents (other than rabbits), caged birds, or fish. Rabies vaccination is required for all pet dogs and cats living in Long Beach. The municipal code also requires all pet dogs and cats to be licensed. Further, all dogs over the age of six months are required to be spayed or neutered.


Three dogs and three cats are allowed per dwelling unit in Anaheim, CA. If you want more than 3 cats or dogs, a noncommercial kennel may be permitted. The kennel permit is issued by the Animal Care Services of the Orange County Health Care Agency. This limitation does not apply to birds, rabbits, and rodents. Refer to Sec. 18.38.030 of the Anaheim Municipal Code for other animals you can own in addition to dogs and cats.


If you are a dog person in Riverside, CA, you can have up to four dogs without a permit. But if you wish to have more, you are required to obtain a kennel permit from the Planning Department. On the other hand, if you are a cat person, you can own up to nine cats without a Cattery permit. All Riverside cat and dog owners are required to microchip their animals.

Top 5 most popular dog breeds in California

From famous landmarks to rich outdoor opportunities, California is known for its many attractions that lure travelers, including dog lovers. According to FOX 11 Los Angeles, these are the 5 most popular dog breeds in California as of January 2024:
  • French Bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Dog breeds that originated in California

The following dog breeds were developed in California:
  • The McNab Dog
  • The Australian Shepherd
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