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17 Best U.S. Cities for Dogs


May is National Pet Month so for all the urban dog people out there in search of a home, we’ve compiled this list of the best cities in America for dogs. We scoured the country, factoring in weather, Walk Score, yard size, dog activities, Meetup groups, and the availability of dog sitters on Rover.com. After a lot of debate we settled on these 17 urban dog paradises.

#1—Portland, Oregon

Snapshot 5:9:13 1:01 PM-2

The Rose City falls over itself to spoil its dogs. With 33 dog parks, Portland has the most per capita of any large city in the United States. It also boasts 19 pet massage therapists, its own social network for dog lovers, and it’s one of Rover.com‘s Top 20 Cities. The average household spends $32.38 per month on pets, which may include items off the Doggie Menu at Tin Shed Garden Café, the Kibbles-N-Bits breakfast at Lucky Labrador Brew Pub, or the Truffle Dog Training Seminar down the road in Eugene, Oregon.

Apparently no mention of Portland is complete these days without referencing the popular show Portlandia so here’s a dog-related clip. Now can we move on?

#2—San Diego, California

Snapshot 5:9:13 3:23 PM

Great weather, dog-friendly beaches and 16 dog parks make San Diego a happy home for hounds. From dining out to surfing, there’s a vast array of activities dogs and people can share together. However, for those times when the humans have to go solo Rover.com says San Diego is one of the best cities to find a great dog sitter. There are plenty of restaurants with dog-friendly patios, a National Dog Party Day, and a strong dog-advocacy community.

  • The city is the dog surfing capital of the world and even hosts an annual dog surfing competition called Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.
  • San Diego is moving to ban the sale of pets bred in commercial breeding facilities (article).

#3—Seattle, Washington

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:41 AM-2

What Seattle lacks in sunny days it more than makes up for with a local culture committed to happy, active dogs. In recent years, Seattle’s dog population has grown rapidly, and even surpassed the number of children living in the city limits.

Unlike in many other cities, dogs are welcome on Seattle’s bus lines, ferries, light rail, and even local seaplanes. Unfortunately, local internet traffic is probably slowed by the many dog-themed Tumblr accounts, Facebook pages, and blogs, such as You Did What WIth Your Wiener?


#4—Austin, Texas

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:12 AM

Even dogs who don’t love live music and delicious Tex-Mex will feel at home in the Texas capital. There are 11 dog parks in town, plenty of water to play in, and no shortage of activities to share with your dog. Austin offers a variety of pet boutiques, health food stores for Fido, and more than 35 pet photographers. Wow. But the best part is Austin is home to Kramer the Austin Famous Rock Dog (he fishes for rocks in local lakes and streams).

#5—San Francisco, California


San Francisco has the third most dog parks of any city in the U.S. with 27, and Walk Score has it ranked second nationally for walkability. Dogs are even allowed on trolley cars, which makes for a cute photo, but only if your dog enjoys waiting in line for an hour to go up a hill. For something more fun, The Stray Bar provides a dog-friendly watering hole that doles out free popcorn, something dogs love.

#6—Albuquerque, New Mexico

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:01 AM-2

Albuquerque is a dog’s paradise. With 33,000 acres of public parks, that’s about a 1/4 acre for every dog, cat and bird! While the city’s walkability is average and heartworm is more common here, the upside is there are only 61 days of precipitation so dogs have the opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors.

  • 100 restaurants either serve hot dogs or are named something with the word “dog” in it, and none of them actually serve dog.
  • The Mayor’s Dog Ball is held annually to raise money in support of a spaying and neutering program.

#7—Tucson, Arizona

Snapshot 5:9:13 12:49 PM

With more than 350 says of sunshine each year, Tucson is the sunniest city in America. If lazily sunning oneself in a sizable yard or a restaurant’s outdoor patio isn’t exciting enough for your dog, got moving and enjoy plenty of outdoor activities in local parks, play facilities and trails. The city’s outdoor recreation opportunities are an energetic dog’s dream come true, with the exception of occasional rattlesnakes.

#8—Boston, Massachusetts


Despite having few off-leash dog parks, there are plenty of public spaces to walk your dog, as well as numerous pet-friendly activities. Boston is home to the first subway built in America and dogs are allowed to ride it during off-peak hours. Additionaly, there are cruises of Boston Harbor that include time for dogs to play pirate and explore an uninhabited island. Boston’s Liberty Hotel hosts a weekly “Yappier Hour,” a happy hour with food and drinks for both people and their four-legged friends.

  • Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed of dog in Boston. The other top dog breeds can be found here.
  • According to this Block Avenue article, Boston neighborhoods with high numbers of pet dogs can be a sign of high home ownership.
  • There’s no shortage of websites and blogs dedicated to Boston’s dogs. Check out Fido Loves—a great online source of information for all things dog-related in Boston, and they provide insight into dog-friendly neighborhoods and apartment buildings.
  • Boston is one Rover.com‘s Top 20 Cities
  • National Media:  This article is proof you don’t have to use the word “wicked” when writing about Boston.

#9—Phoenix, Arizona

Snapshot 5:14:13 9:09 AM

Phoenix, as well as neighboring Tempe and Scottsdale, are positively littered with retirees with time to spend with their canine companions. Plus, with 85 percent of days free of precipitation, rainy days rarely keep dogs from being walked. The area is loaded with various pet amenities and a busy calendar of dog-themed events around town.

#10—Minneapolis, Minnesota

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:58 AM

If you’ve ever seen a Corgi cheerfully plodding along through a two-foot snow drift then you know true happiness. If not, then perhaps it’s time you packed up and headed for Minneapolis. The city is blessed with a pooch-positive culture, a hefty serving of dog-friendly restaurants, and plenty of parks and hiking trails. The downside is harsh winters can leave dogs trapped inside for long stretches, but when the sun is out there are fun activities like the Canine Carnival, various breed-specific Meetups, and Beer With Your Buddy—the opportunity to drink a brew at the pub while your four-legged pal socializes.

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:50 AM

#11—Colorado Springs, Colorado

If a dog loses its paws to frostbite in Colorado Springs it gets four new prosthetic paws and the name Naki’o the Bionic Dog because the city is home to an awesome veterinarian assistant named Christie Pace—(related article).


In addition to dog heroes, Colorado Springs has an abundance of affordable vets, plenty of dog amenities, and households that spend a whopping $35.75 per month on their pets—perhaps at the cleverly named Republic of Paws or Ruffing It? With only 90 days of precipitation, the weather provides plenty of opportunity to explore the city’s parks and nearby hiking trails with four-legged friends.

#12—Chicago, Illinois

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:05 AM

What Chicago lacks in dog parks—just 0.6 parks per 100,000 residents—it makes up for in walkability, dog-centered activities, and ample dog boarding opportunities as one of Rover.com‘s Top 20 Cities. Chicago law understandably forbids serving whiskey to dogs, but its prohibition on dogs at the opera runs contrary to the city’s reputation for dog inclusivity. Overall, Chicago does right by its dogs with strong anti-cruelty campaigns, dog-friendly beaches, and an annual Chicago White Sox Dog Day where dogs are allowed at the stadium.

#13—Las Vegas, Nevada


Las Vegas has a whopping 25 off-leash dog parks—a per capita third best in the nation. Sin City doesn’t get much respect for walkability with a Walk Score of 49.2, but 85% of days are sunny so only extreme heat is an excuse for not walking the dog. Vegas is home to a dog-themed radio program called The Las Vegas Hot Diggity Dog Show, and a Dachshund rescue group with the slogan “Saving the World One Wiener at a Time.”

#14—Miami, Florida

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:32 AM-2

For dogs with the right look, Miami is the perfect city to strut their stuff. However, if your pooch is a droopy, insecure Basset Hound with body issues then strolling a beach teeming with glamorous Chihuahuas and muscle-bound Bull Mastiffs is cause for pause. Regardless, great weather and plenty of sandy beaches mean recreation opportunities abound for dogs who like to romp on the beach, and dining with dogs is easy thanks to seemingly limitless patio space at city restaurants. The downside is that exotic birds like parrots are welcome as well, and everyone knows dogs love to chase noisy birds, even if they’re tethered to an attention-craving eccentric.

Shop for your furry friend in dozens of boutique shops offering upscale grooming, designer dog apparel, and fashionable collars and leashes.

#15—Washington, DC

Snapshot 5:14:13 9:03 AM

Only 21.9 percent of the city’s households own a pet, but the capital is still a great city for dogs. Washington, D.C. is the 7th most walkable large city in America according to Walk Score, and there are seven dog parks for locals to use. In addition, there is ample public space and parks to walk a dog, including some of our nation’s most cherished monuments.

  • Good dogs get rewarded with pupcakes, canine cookies, and Mutt Licks ice cream at the Doggie Style Bakery, Boutique & Spa.
  • There are plenty of festivals and outdoor celebrations that welcome dogs.
  • On occasion, local puppies adorably travel about in a rolling cooler. Here’s proof.
  • Washington, DC is one of Rover.com‘s Top 20 Cities.

#16—Denver, Colorado

Regardless of whether Denver (the dog in the video) got into the kitty cat treats, Denver (the city) has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to being a great town for dog lovers to buy a home.

With nine off-leash dog parks, 111 pet-related stores, and sunshine 69% of days, Denver is a hot spot for happy hounds. Skoops Ice Cream and More serves up specially-made frozen treats for dogs, and Golden Triangle Liquors on 12th allows dogs to stroll their booze-filled aisles, and even doles out non-alcoholic treats to pooches.

  • For a field trip, there’s a Purina dog food production factory on the outskirts of town.


#17—Cleveland, Ohio

Snapshot 5:14:13 8:48 AM

Cleveland isn’t blessed with many dog parks, but the city on Lake Erie respects the hound more than most. FirstEnergy Stadium is home to the legendary Dawg Pound—the bleacher section reserved for the Cleveland Browns’ most rabid fans. This is not to be confused with the Long Beach-based hip hop duo Tha Dogg Pound. Not only does the city use a dog as the mascot for both the Cleveland Browns (Chomp) and Cleveland Cavaliers (Moondog), but it also houses the taxidermied body of legendary sled dog Balto in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Balto is a true American hero.

  • Cleveland has lots of dog-friendly parks, including Holden Arboretum, which has 20 miles of hiking trails.
  • The annual Woofstock is just one of many events that raises money for pet causes.



The following cities didn’t make the cut…

Hartford, Connecticut:  It’s illegal to educate a dog in Hartford. Also, dogs bearing tattoos must be reported to police. Why does Hartford’s big-brother mentality concern itself with a dog’s choice of skin art?

Madison, Wisconsin:  It’s illegal for dogs to chase squirrels even if the squirrel is baiting the dog by climbing down from the tree, swishing its tail, and chattering noisily. 

Los Angeles, California:  The lack of dog parks is bad enough, but no city that allows Paris Hilton to own multiple dogs and keep them in her purse should ever be included in a list of Top Cities for Dogs. Period.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  With an average of 2,354-square-feet, Philly’s homes have some of the smallest yards in the country. Dog claustrophobia can be cured with an occasional cheesesteak though.

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  • sberg

    Miami should not be on here with all their breed specific legislation.. There are plenty of cities in Florida that allow all dogs to enjoy the beaches & such.. Jacksonville is very dog friendly & has no bans.. Most apartment complexes/rentals allow dogs – many any size. Dogs parks, beaches, outdoor patio seating – even upscale restaurants around sawgrass along dogs on the decks. There are bars that allow dogs to come inside and hang out also…Plus it’s not 100 degrees year round… There are much better places in Florida than Miami..

  • sberg

    Grew up in Lincoln – great place :)

  • Tanya

    I absolutely HATE Denver, solely because of this. I have refused job offers in Denver because of this and ended up leaving CO altogether. as my way of boycotting this bullshiiiit. I have worked at 2 rescues and a pet resort and guess what? I never once had an aggressive pitbull there. of course they exist, but ANY dog has the ability to bite. regardless of breed. tell you what I have gotten snapped at and/or bitten by ALL the breeds you mentioned above working at different locations. banning pitbulls is prejudice…To let everyone know, I have 3 small children ages 2-4 and I own 3 pitbulls and 2 of them are rescues. and I can guarantee you my dogs are the perfect guardians of my babies. they sleep in front of their beds, stay close by their side, cuddle with them and are resilient to all the toddler bings and bangs. I once caught my son using my dog’s head as a step stool to get onto the couch when he was just learning how to walk and pull up, and my dog didn’t even move a muscle, as if he was scared that it would make my son fall. Pitbulls are one of the most intelligent, misunderstood breeds in history. I will always be a proud owner, advocate and activist for the breed. and just to top it off, Pitbulls were the 1st AMERICAN breed in the United States, hence the name American Pitbull Terrier. They were the original American dog and if you would crack you open any books or archives, you will see plenty pits throughout history embedded, especially pictures, and they are usually portrayed around children or farms. Irresponsible and pathetic people have made the breed hated by most of society so much people forget they are still dogs, not monsters. They love, they fear, they protect, they play, they cuddle, they feel and they have a heart.

  • Tanya


  • LovePits


  • CTheReal

    Are you serious? Have you seen how adorable they are? It’s the owner not the dog, bud.


    WHAT???? Mary Ellen…stereotype much? You’re qualified to judge entire regions occupied by millions of people? I’m impressed. FYI, Virginia (home of PETA) is far from lax (remember the Vick trial?). Your statement is so general and off the mark that it’s laughable. Now get off the computer, and get back in the kitchen!

  • Marina

    Kooldog House

  • Patricia Bolson-Robinson

    I see NJ isnt on this list – it should be as one of the worst places EVER to have a dog.

  • Shaherizad

    It’s a mixed breed which has some pitbull and maybe a little Boston Terrier

  • James Mollo

    Seattle might be dog friendly but not pit friendly

  • James Mollo

    maybe you should be killed

  • James Mollo

    Philly is more pit friendly than Seattle I know I lived there

  • Meagan Cockram

    Why did you pick Miami? They would seize and euthanize my fun and sweet and stinkin cute kid-loving pit bull just because of breed discrimination. I could never move to Miami for the very reason that I don’t want any dog haters to seize him. Any place that votes for breed discrimination does not love or even understand dogs.

  • Meagan Cockram

    Denver has a ban on pitties. It, Albuquerque and even Portland have terrible weather for dogs with snow hitting Albuquerque in October and the nights being 50 degrees colder than the days. Consider Dallas. There’s no selective breed legislation. Also, it’s less hot than Austin and the number of restaurants catering to dogs is pretty impressive. We have awesome weather and have a ton of trails and places outdoors to enjoy city life with dogs.

  • Meagan Cockram

    Dallas has one of the largest, state of the art SPCA shelters in the country. Since most of the lost animals from Katrina came to us, we are definitely eligible for this list.

  • Meagan Cockram

    You don’t know anything about them. You should educate yourself. Google “Lennox in Ireland” as a starting point. It never hurts to learn.

  • Meagan Cockram

    People not even owning pits get affected by these bans. If you own a lab with a wide mouth, he’s at risk for being killed.

  • Brian Keith Smith

    All dog bigots who believe in mythical bad breeds of dog instead of poor dogs some human has screwed up should be shot in the head with the highest caliber weapon possible. A dog is the mirror of the human most responsible for it. If your dog bites it tells me far more about you than it does about your dog’s breed. I’m sick of infantile little losers who blame guns & dogs instead of the people who misuse them

  • Allen Tompkins

    first off colorado springs deserves to be further up the list ..ive seen an entire four lane stop for a loose dog running across the street numerous times also their animal services are called animal welfare not animal control and their shelters have very low intake compared to smaller cities …and who in the world put denver on this list they have on numerous occasions put down dogs of people traveling thru that they deem as illegal types of dogs they have an extremely high kill rate in their animal control..i bypass denver when traveling ..do not take any dog that even resembles a pit …boxer or that type of breed thru denver as a traffic stop can and has resulted in these types of dogs being seized and killed ..denver is one of the most anti dog cities in the country

  • Allen Tompkins

    so i take it your a fan of stupid laws lets pass a ban on pits because people fight pits ..let pass a ban on filming police because people film police brutality….yes if you read the minutes of the meetings to ban pits in denver that was the reason a different reason was given to the media

  • J. Cook

    You do know Pitbulls are banned in Miami (Dade county)

  • ndgf

    Boston/Cambridge area does not belong on this list. Off leash parks are minimal and set up incorrectly. The city is not just the government but the actual people who live here–and even many dog owners are difficult and have little understanding of normal dog behavior. If you have a dog you must drive to the burbs for decent off leash areas and even then you may have issues. The author of the “fido loves” site moved to San Francisco as well.

  • Lali Bélula

    I’m moving to Minneapolis and it’s been so far very hard to find an apartment for rent that allows dogs. Some allow only small dogs (I find this curious since small dogs tend to be more nervous) and they still charge a $25 “dog rent” on top of deposits. This is very disappointing, as before making my decision to accept the job I made sure it was a dog friendly city, I guess that is if you also own a house.

  • breana collins

    Asheville, NC is a nice place for dogs-Lots of trails to hike in the area, fair weather, people are always happy to see a dog- dog friendly breweries, most resturants have dog friendly outdoor patio seating. I rode around town on my bicycle with my Pomeranian in my backpack (he loves it) and people loved it!

  • Elizabeth


  • Billee83

    How is Denver on here when they have BSL?? How many other cities on this list would kill my very sweet harmless pit?? We rescued I’m from death in Georgia, now I have to always be aware if we ever decide to move, that he will be safe.

  • Billee83

    Chachacha you are brainless.

  • Billee83

    Lennox, that was such a sad case.

  • Billee83

    anyone saying, oh well the owners should have known better…if the owners lived there prior to this law how is that the owners fault? Dumb brainless sheep.

  • Autumn

    Ken I could not agree more! Preach!

  • Celine Foord

    I agree!

  • James Mollo

    Right i love pits

  • Laura Neese

    DENVER! DENVER?????? Any place with breed-specific laws should be ashamed and deserves to be exposed, not praised. Any dog even LOOKS like a American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier is illegal in Denver (Ordinance Sec. 8-55) Denver needs to be removed from this list; its inclusion calls into question the validity of the entire article.

  • Laura Neese

    Ignorance should be wiped out, not any specific breed.