12 Most Popular Animals People Keep as Pets

While you may guess the most popular pet, the rest might surprise you.

Published June 29, 2023

You'll probably guess a few of the most popular animals people keep as pets, but some might surprise you! Before you start the slideshow, write down what pets you think are in the top three. Or, you can even do it for the entire 12! Then, at the end, see how many you had right.

1. Dogs


Known as "man's best friend," dogs are beloved for their loyalty, companionship, and ability to provide emotional support. They come in a variety fo breeds, each with its own unique characteristics and temperaments, which allows potential owners to find the perfect match for their lifestyle.

2. Cats


Cats are known for being low-maintenance and independent while still providing companionship. Many people appreciate their playful yet relaxed nature and their hunting instincts that can keep their household free of pests.

Need to Know

Although cats are independent, they still enjoy quality time with their pet parent and find ways to show their love for you.

3. Fish


Fish are visually soothing and relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice for those with less space or those who cannot have more active pets. They also offer an entry point to pet ownership for children.

Quick Tip

If you're choosing a fish as your child's first pet, look for types of fish that are best for beginners.

4. Birds


Many bird species can form strong bonds with their owners. They can be playful, interactive, and some species, such as parrots, can mimic human speech. Their colorful feathers also add to their appeal as pets.

5. Rabbits


Rabbits are often loved for their cute appearance and playful, curious nature. They can be litter-trained and have unique personalities, although they do require specific care to keep them healthy and happy. Similar to dogs, there are certain breeds better suited to family-life than others.

6. Hamsters


Hamsters are popular, especially for families with children, as they're small, cute, and relatively easy to care for. They also don't require a lot of space, which is beneficial for people living in apartments.

Quick Tip

Hamsters have a tendency to bite, so be prepared to spend a lot of time socializing a hamster for desired behaviors.

7. Guinea Pigs


Guinea pigs are known for their friendly and gentle nature. They are sociable animals that enjoy companionship, which can be very rewarding for their owners. They're also known to be good with children.

8. Reptiles (Turtles, Snakes, Lizards)


Reptiles can be fascinating to watch and interact with, and many have less intensive daily needs than mammals. However, they often require specific habitats and diets based on species.

9. Ferrets


Ferrets are playful and curious, and many owners enjoy their mischievous and entertaining antics. They can be trained to use a litter box, and while they do have a distinct smell, regular cleaning can keep this under control.

10. Rats


Despite their reputation, rats can make great pets due to their intelligence and sociability. They can be taught tricks, are generally clean animals, and can form strong bonds with their owners.

11. Mice


Mice are small, relatively easy to care for, and can be entertaining to watch. Like rats, they're intelligent and can even learn to run through mazes or do simple tricks. Just be aware that these smalle pets have short lifespans.

12. Horses


While not suitable for everyone due to their size and the space they require, horses can form deep connections with their owners. Equestrians love riding and exercising their horses, of course, but many people also enjoy their sheer beauty and grace.

Need to Know

Horses are so bonded to humans, they can be used in therapeutic settings.

What Pets Do You Have?


Did you guess the right pets? And, of these pets, which ones do you have in your household? It's likely you have at least one. If you don't have any pets and are considering choosing one of the 12, get out a pen and a piece of paper and start your research. Find out which pet is best for you!

12 Most Popular Animals People Keep as Pets