How Many Dogs Can You Have in Iowa?

Iowa doesn’t have any state-wide limits on dog ownership, although there are some local laws restricting the number of dogs you can have.
Written by Nick Kunze
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
has no ownership limit laws on dogs. However, some counties and towns across the state have their own laws regarding how many dogs you can own. 
How many dogs you can have is just one important question about dog ownership laws in Iowa. There’s also the question of leashes, outlawed breeds, and bites. State-wide you can find laws governing dog bites, but it’s up to most cities and counties to determine leash lengths and breed restrictions. 
Read on to learn how many dogs you can have in Iowa, plus a whole lot of other dog laws, in this handy guide compiled by
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Does Iowa have laws limiting how many dogs you can own?

There are no state-wide limits on how many dogs you can own. However, there are county and city-wide laws about ownership across the state of Iowa.
A few examples of dog limit laws throughout the state include:
  • Fort Madison
    does not allow any household to have over four dogs over six months of age.
  • Des Moines
    doesn’t allow more than three licensed dogs per household.
  • Other than kennels or pet shops, no person in Polk City can have over four dogs.
To ensure you’re not breaking the law with your number of dogs, check with your city and county government to see if they have any dog limit laws.

Are there any dog breeds outlawed in Iowa?

There are no state-wide dog breed bans. However, there are plenty of local bans on specific breeds. 
Currently, over 30 cities in Iowa ban pit bulls specifically. Several other dog breeds are banned in cities across the state, including:
  • Rottweilers
  • Dogo and Presa Cararios
  • Wolf-dog hybrids
  • Doberman pinschers 
Beyond bans, some cities also have enacted restrictions or declared these breeds as “dangerous” or “vicious,” meaning owners are specific restrictions they must follow if they own a pit bull or other breed. 
For example, the city of Cherokee requires kennelling for pit bulls, Akita, Rottweiler, Doberman, or chow dogs. 

What are the leash laws in Iowa?

Iowa does not have state-wide leash laws. However, animals are not free to roam—any dog found without a rabies tag will be impounded per state law. 
There are plenty of local leash laws you may need to be aware of, depending on where you live. For example, in
, all dogs must be leashed at all times unless enclosed within the owner’s property or “confined by a tether.”
Iowa City
, all dogs must be leashed and under the control of a “competent person” unless in the owner’s car or property. The leash cannot be longer than 10 feet. However, Iowa City dog owners can obtain a permit to let their dogs off-leash in a dog park—those without a permit will be fined $100 per offense. 
Check out your local laws to ensure you’re adhering to the leash laws in your area.

Dog bite laws

Iowa has state-wide laws on dog bites.
Statute 351.27 states that anyone has a right to kill a dog if it’s attacking or attempting to attack a person. The same law applies if the dog is attacking domesticated animals. 
The owner of a dog is liable for any damage caused to a person or domesticated animals unless the attacked party is committing an unlawful act at the time of the attack.
After a bite, it is the owner’s responsibility to report the bite to local law enforcement or health officials. This is to help prevent rabies and keep the community and other animals safe. 

Where to find affordable insurance in Iowa

While many people own a dog to help keep their house safe (or just to be a good friend!), a guard dog is not enough to fully protect your home. Also necessary? A good
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