How Many Dogs Can You Have in Illinois

There is no statewide limit on the number of dogs you can own in Illinois, but individual cities have their own restrictions.
Written by Bee Davis
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
While
Illinois
doesn’t have a statewide limit on the number of dogs you can own, individual municipalities may have their own specific laws. 
As every dog lover knows, you can never have too many dogs, as long as they have the space and means to care for them, of course. While the state of Illinois doesn’t have a statewide limit on the number of dogs you can own, individual counties and cities may have their own laws for residents with dogs. 
Home
and
car insurance
expert and
super app
Jerry
has all the info you need about dog laws in Illinois. In this article, we’ll cover common limits to the number of dogs per household, Breed Specific Legislation, leash laws, and common penalties for breaking them in the state of Illinois. 
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Does Illinois have laws limiting how many dogs you can own?

There’s no statewide law in Illinois that limits the number of dogs you can have, but individual cities have their own restrictions. Urban areas tend to tap out at a max of 4 dogs per household, though some have rules about the total number of domesticated animals in the house including cats. 
In
Aurora
, for example, 4 domesticated animals are allowed, specifically 2 dogs and 2 cats. In Colona, no more than 4 dogs and cats are allowed in any combination. 
Cities may also make exceptions for owners with a kennel license. In Kendall County, for instance, you may have more than the maximum of 4 domesticated animals on sight if at least two of them are kept for boarding purposes. Lake County also provides multiple pet permits for parcels of land greater than 1.5 acres. 
Check with your local ordinances to learn about specific dog laws in your area. Your city may offer a multiple pet permit if your property meets the requirements. 

Are there any dog breeds outlawed in Illinois?

Currently, Illinois does not have statewide Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that bans or restricts specific breeds. However, the state does allow individual counties and cities to implement BSL for their residents. 
Commonly restricted or banned breeds include pit bulls, rottweilers, and German shepherds. Restrictions for specific breeds may include requiring an enclosure for the dog at home, posting signs warning of a specific breed on a property, or outlawing the breed altogether. If you’re curious about BSL in your area, check the
BSL Census
to see if your city bans or restricts specific breeds. 
While Illinois doesn’t ban specific breeds statewide, it does have legislation around what it defines as “dangerous dogs”. According to state statute
510 ILCS 5/2.05a
, a “dangerous dog” is any dog that has either threatened or injured someone unprovoked in public
Dogs that are deemed “dangerous” may be subject to specific restrictions by law, such as being muzzled in public or being kept in an enclosure at home
MORE: The best places to live in Illinois

What are the leash laws in Illinois?

As any dog owner knows, dogs can become adept escape artists as soon as they smell something interesting beyond the fence. But what are Illinois’ laws around dogs running free in public?
In general, dogs in Illinois are prohibited from running “at large”, meaning off private property without a leash. Dogs are required to be fit with a well-fitting leash and collar and under the control of their owner when in public, except in designated off-leash areas like dog parks and certain hiking trails. 
Individual municipalities may have their own specific leash laws, especially urban areas with larger populations. Check with your local leash ordinances to view your area’s laws around leashing dogs in public. 
Leash laws are meant to keep Illinois residents safe and unperturbed by pups at large, and breaking these laws can accrue penalties for both owners and their dogs.

Penalties for breaking dog laws in Illinois

As with any violation of the law, penalties for breaking dog laws in Illinois depend on the severity of the situation.
Illinois files any dog-related injuries under personal injury law, meaning owners can be held responsible for injuries or deaths caused by their dogs. In general, owners are liable for any expenses relating to injury or property damage by dogs in the state of Illinois. 
Chicago
specifically requires owners to obtain dangerous dog licenses after an incident of injury, attack, or substantial threat. This includes dogs that have been trained for fighting or attacking, even if their fighting days are behind them. 
In extreme cases of injury or death, owners may be made to pay a fine or even see jail time if they have enough offenses. The court may also order the dog to be euthanized if the offense is severe enough. 

Where to find affordable insurance in Illinois

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