Okay, pop-quiz time. Without quickly Googling it, can you name Illinois' official state dog? How about our official state cat? It's okay if you can't, because we don't have them.

Nope. No official state dog or cat. What we do have is an official state pet. That honor, since 2017, goes to "shelter dogs and cats."

Getty Images
Getty Images

Illinois, Colorado, California, Tennessee, And Georgia All Choose Shelter Pets

Sure, you could criticize that decision for not choosing an actual breed, but drawing awareness to shelter animals is a good thing no matter how you look at it. In our 30 years of marriage, Amy and I have adopted 5 rescued dogs and cats that went on to become wonderful family members.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, does have an official state dog (so do 12 other states). It's this guy, the American Water Spaniel (who has been promised a brat and some string cheese in exchange for letting this woman poke, prod, and pull his ears):

Getty Images
Getty Images

Here Are The Stats For Illinois' Dog And Cat Populations

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA.org), in 2020 there were 85 million dogs in the United States, compared to 65 million cats. The AVMA projects that by 2030, there will be 100 million dogs and 82 million cats nationwide.

Here in Illinois, AVMA says that:

  • 48.6% of Illinois households own a pet.
  • 32.4% of Illinois households own a dog.
  • 21% of Illinois households own a cat.

Here are the three that run my house:

Amy Jacobsen, Townsquare Media
Amy Jacobsen, Townsquare Media
Amy Jacobsen, Townsquare Media
Amy Jacobsen, Townsquare Media

Only 9 States Have Less Than 50% Of Homes With Pets

Illinois is one of those 9 states, with 48.6% of households having some sort of pet. The other eight states (along with the percentage of household with pets) are:

  • Connecticut (49.9%)
  • New York (49.7%)
  • Maryland (48.6%)
  • New Jersey (47.4)
  • Colorado (47.2%)
  • South Dakota (46.4%)
  • Rhode Island (45.4%)
  • California (40.1%)

RANKED: Here Are the 63 Smartest Dog Breeds

Does your loyal pup's breed make the list? Read on to see if you'll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog's intellectual prowess the next time you take your fur baby out for a walk. Don't worry: Even if your dog's breed doesn't land on the list, that doesn't mean he's not a good boy--some traits simply can't be measured.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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