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

Three cute puppies in a yard

The allowable number of pets per household in Illinois varies from one municipality to another. That is because the Prairie State has no state-wide limit on pets per household. The number of dogs or cats you can own is regulated by your city or town. That means the maximum number of pets you can legally own in Illinois depends on where you live and the rules there.

You may contact your local animal control office to determine the allowable number of pets in your locality. Alternatively, a quick Google search for your city's animal ordinances may be helpful. In the meantime, let's look at the maximum number of pets permitted per household in the following Illinois cities:


Currently, there is no official limit to the number of cats or dogs you can own in Chicago. However, according to some sources, you can own up to five dogs in the Windy City. There's no cap on the number of cats you can own in Chicago. However, it is important that you keep only the number of pets for which you can provide food, shelter, health care, and companionship. Chicago seems to trust its citizens to be responsible pet owners, so don't abuse that trust.

Moreover, the city's municipal code prohibits the keeping of dogs that habitual bark, whine, or howl for more than ten consecutive minutes. The code also requires each owner to keep and maintain their animal under restraint. Further, each owner of any dog, cat, or ferret 4 months of age or older are required to have their animal vaccinated against rabies. All pet dogs living in Chicago must be licensed.


In Aurora, IL, the maximum limitation per household is 4 domestic animals. Of the four animals, keeping more than 2 of any one species isn't allowed. For example, you may own no more than 2 dogs and no more than 2 cats. This means that if you are a dog person in Aurora, the maximum number of dogs you can own is 2. The same goes for cat people as well.

However, according to the City's Code of Ordinances, you may apply for a permit for one additional domestic animal, bringing the total number to 5. Under the permit, you are allowed to own three of any one species per household. For example, with a permit, you may own 3 dogs and 2 cats or the opposite.


The number of dogs and cats you may keep on your property in Naperville, IL, is 3 dogs and 3 cats. However, you may keep a litter of puppies or kittens for a period not exceeding four months from birth. It is unlawful to permit your dog, cat, or other animal to run at large within the City. A dog or cat is deemed to be at large if it is found in any public place without being held securely on a leash. All pet dogs and cats are required by city ordinance to be licensed.


In Elgin, IL, no more than 3 dogs are allowed to be kept in any single-family residence. In any single-family unit of any multiple-family housing building, a maximum of 2 dogs is permitted. This restriction does not apply to dogs under three months of age. There is no restriction on the number of cats you can own in the city. Every dog four months of age or older is required by law to be inoculated against rabies and wear a collar to which the rabies inoculation tag is fastened.


No more than four animals are permitted per household in the city of Peoria, IL. For example, you may own four cats, four dogs, or any combination thereof not exceeding a total of 4. After assuming ownership of a fifth animal, you have 30 days to obtain an annual multiple-pet license from the city. If you receive an inspection rating of excellent, the annual renewal fee of your license will be $10.

Keeping more than 4 animals without obtaining a license is deemed a violation of law, which is punishable by a fine of not less than $200. Please refer to Chapter 4, Sec. 4-65. of the Peoria Code of Ordinances for more info.


In Waukegan, IL, each household is limited to 3 cats or dogs, or any combination thereof not exceeding three. If you desire to own more than the 3 dogs or cats, the city code requires that you obtain written permission from the chief of police or his/her designee. Dogs and cats, even when on a leash, are prohibited in food-handling establishments and certain public places within the city. This law, however, does not apply to guide dogs for blind, hearing impaired, or physically handicapped people.

Does Illinois Ban Any Breed of Dog?

There is no statewide ban on any breed of dog in Illinois. Currently, Illinois law prohibits municipalities from enacting breed-specific legislation (BSL). BSL, opposed by several animal welfare organizations, is a law that bans particular breeds of dogs deemed inherently dangerous.

This law often affects owners of Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Cane Corsos,  Dobermans, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasileiros, and Presa Canarios. Though there is no statewide ban on any dog breed, individual municipalities within Illinois may have their own restrictions.

For example, in Maywood, IL, there are special restrictions on Pit bulls. Maywood residents are required by Village Code to obtain a village permit to own a Pit bull. Maywood Pit bull owners are also required to display on all entrances to their property a sign that states "Beware of Dog", "Pit Bull Dog", or "Dangerous Dog."

In the city of North Chicago, a kennel license is required to own a Pit bull. The keeping of pit bull dogs without a license is prohibited in Tampico, IL.

Top 7 Most Popular Dog Breeds in Illinois

Illinois is well-known for its love of pets, and Chicago particularly ranks as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. According to a recent study by the World Animal Foundation, the following breeds of dogs are the top seven most popular in Illinois in 2024:
  • Golden Retriever
  • Goldendoodle
  • Shih Tzu
  • Chihuahua
  • German Shepherd
  • French Bulldog
  • Labrador Retriever
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