Quick quiz: Do you…
A. Actually enjoy being woken up each morning with a wet nose in your face?
B. Feel unashamed to dress your pet like a Victorian child, push him around town in a high-end stroller, and talk to him in a baby voice?
C. Have on your Galaxy S7 dozens of pictures of Humbert the Harrier but none of your spouse, parents, or (human) children?
D. Call him on a treat-dispensing videophone when you’re away from home?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is a resounding yes, here’s the news: You are a
crazy dog person—and you’re not alone!
In America, 54.4 million households (44%) own at least one dog, according to the 2015–2016 American Pet Products Association survey, handily beating the share of cat-owning households (35%). Ha! Take that, cat people!
Overall, Americans are sparing no expense for their beloved animal companions. Spending on pets more than doubled from 2001 to 2015, going from $28.5 billion to $60.28 billion, according to the APPA.
So making sure you have the very best for your dog—space to run, grass to sniff, and lots of other nice dogs to play with—is a major factor for many of us in determining where we’ll live.
And it turns out, some cities are just better for having a dog. This week, the realtor.com® data team is sniffing out 10 of the country’s best cities for your tail-wagging friends based on the following criteria:
- Percentage of households that own a dog, from Nielsen
- Number of dog parks, trails, and beaches on BringFido.com (per capita)
- Number of dog-friendly restaurants and bars on Yelp.com (per capita)
- Number of pet stores, trainers, groomers, boarding services, and vets on Yelp.com (per capita)
- Number of dog walkers per capita and average hourly rate on Care.com
Ready? Let’s check out the top pooch parade!
Median home price: $349,000
68% of households own a dog
The rapport between humans and dogs in Charleston goes way back, long before the city was named one of the most dog-friendly cities by Rover.com. Poogan’s Porch, one of the city’s oldest restaurants, was named after the dog that began parking himself on the, um, porch in 1976. After being adopted by the owner, Poogan served as the restaurant’s official greeter. (The Poog’s breed, sadly, is lost to history.)
Apart from dog parks and trails, dogs can also enjoy the area’s five dog-friendly beaches—Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island beach even allow them to go off-leash at certain hours. The beloved Yappy Hour summer music series at James Island County Park features music and beverages for dog owners and their pups all summer long.You can even take your hound with you on an old Charleston Ghost Tour! For protection, of course.
2. Temecula, CA
Median home price: $519,000
85% of households own a dog
The charming town in the heart of Southern California’s leading wine region is increasingly known as a pet-friendly destination, as 24 of the valley’s wineries now allow canine companions—even in the tasting room, in many cases. The small town also has 30 pet-friendly restaurants where well-mannered mutts can join you in outdoor seating (and predictably sneak in a bite or two).
Every spring, Wiens Family Cellars holds the Wines for Canines and Kitties event. It includes a live auction of donated items and a Fido fashion show with adoptable dogs strutting down the
cat… dogwalk. And if you want even more do-good doggie events, check out Woofs and Purrs in the Vines each fall, hosted by the Oak Mountain Winery, which raises funds for pets with diabetes.
Median home price: $249,000
62% of households own a dog
Pet pampering is a real thing in the City of LIghts: The place ranked seventh in lavish pet spending on Amazon.com. And owners aren’t just shelling out online; when they go out of town, Luxe Pet Hotels offer a boarding service that purports to be “tailored with relaxation and luxury in mind.” That means dog gym, indoor obstacle course, outdoor pool and cabana, king-size memory foam bed, and 42-inch TV in the “celebrity suite.” Think of it as a “Rain Man” suite for your schnauzer.
And just in case you feared that Las Vegas didn’t have its own pet-themed radio show, it does. Vegas Rock Dog Radio is an impressively popular live weekly rock ‘n’ roll series about pets, people, and pop culture. Especially pets.
Median home price: $596,500
69% of households own a dog
This wealthy suburb of Phoenix has no shortage of retirees who can spend all day with Fido alfresco. The city boasts a long list of restaurants and cafes with extensive outdoor dining for you and your furball, along with 20 bars where dogs can sit alongside your bar stool. (Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.)
There’s also an abundance of pet shops that cater to petite dogs. Check out miniature frilly dresses and collars at Mackie’s Parlour, or Louis Vuitton knockoff dog toys, plush sports car–shaped dog beds, and rhinestone collars at Oh My Dog. But please don’t go overboard—dogs embarrass easily.
Median home price: $689,000
63% of households own a dog
Good weather, beaches, and hiking: San Diego has it all for you and your lovable mongrel! The annual dog surf competition attracted 50 four-legged competitors riding the waves last year—they were judged by length of time spent on the board, size of the wave, and perceived comfort while on the board. San Diego has almost 1,000 pet-related businesses, including 200-plus veterinarian services and more than 120 pet stores. The city also has a huge army of dog walkers—a total of 1,221 listed— to ensure that no dog is left unwalked.
6. Austin, TX
Median home price: $450,000
61% of households own a dog
In case Austin’s 265 dog-friendly restaurants don’t speak enough about its “pawesomeness,” there’s even a food truck dedicated to your foodist Fido. Bow-Wow Bones offers dogs treats in eight flavors, including peanut butter, salmon, and cheesy apple. Groovy Dog Bakery, a gourmet pet bakery, serves signature Pup Pies, Puppy Ice Creams made with real yogurt, and “Yappy Barkday” cakes.
After some delicious canine birthday treats, you’ll likely want to take your best friend out for some exercise. Go for a swim at Red Bud Isle, a popular dogs-only swimming spot, or Doga, a dog-centered yoga studio. Its speciality move is “down dog,” or so we’ve heard.
7. Tampa, FL
Median home price: $230,000
57% of households own a dog
Outdoor-loving canines and their human companions will dig Tampa’s many off-leash dog parks and beaches, while fashion-loving curs will gravitate to the area’s many dog-friendly shops and boutiques. In the Hyde Park Village, an upscale open-air shopping mall where many stores keep fresh water and treats at the front door, it’s common to run into dogs on leashes, in handbags, and occasionally in Beagle Bjorns as their owners browse the newest clothing lines. The annual Tampa Bay Pet Expo features the latest pet products, costume contests, pet care lessons, and low-cost vaccinations.
Median home price: $419,000
67% of households own a dog
Like his owner, Chew Barka will never run short of exercise opportunities in this mountain town. Hiking trails of various degrees of difficulty abound, including the renowned Poudre Trail and Mason Trail. Fort Collins also has four dog parks where your best pals can run free. The beloved Spring Canyon Dog Park has separate play areas for dogs of different sizes. Does your pet like to swim? There is a pond located inside the huge park just for fur-faced paddlers
9. Atlanta, GA
Median home price: $314,900
54% of households own a dog
It’s baseball season, time for Atlantans—and their dogs—to cheer for their Braves! This season, the team is hosting two “Bark in the Park” nights, when hounds are allowed into Turner Field at games. Each canine ticket comes with a Braves leash. Speaking of sports, owners also shouldn’t miss the Doggie Dash 5K run and “Doggie Splash” in Piedmont Park, a 3-acre dog park. Feeling hungry? Lucky’s Burger & Brew, with the owner’s cuddly golden retriever featured in the logo, sells signature burgers named for different breeds (and, of course, pups of all ages are welcome). Bellwoods Social House has a special area called the “dog bar,” serving fresh water and treats.
10. Seattle, WA
Median home price: $609,000
52% of households own a dog
In this city, four-legged residents outnumber babies. What else do you need to know? Dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating are nothing new (Seattle has more than 100 of them), but places like Norm’s Eatery & Ale House and The Leary Traveler now let you eat inside with your well-behaved animal. Every summer, for “Dog Day on Elliott Bay,” dogs can join their owners on the cruise from Seattle to Blake Island, a 475-acre state park.
And while Seattle-based corporate titan Amazon has gotten a rap lately as not being a not particularly human-friendly place to work, it sure is accommodating to the shedding members of your clan. Reception desks are stocked with dog biscuits, and the campus is dotted with dog drinking fountains, according to CNBC.