One of the great injustices of the world is that there are currently cities in which you can’t safely live with your dog. Between leash laws, breed restrictions, lack of outdoor access and general misinformation about certain breeds, not every city is a safe haven for your pup.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there are no options at all. Some U.S. cities love dogs more than they love people, it would seem, and go above and beyond to make life wonderful for our four-legged friends. If you’re thinking about making a big move, here are a few cities that are best for dog lovers.
San Diego, California
Locals in San Diego are on a highly successful mission to rid the city of puppy stores entirely, so you know they care about their four-legged friends. On top of being one of the most beautiful places in the country, it also has abundant access to hiking trails, mountain retreats and beaches that your dog will love. Renters are generally pretty relaxed when it comes to owning a dog, so if you can afford it, the area is a great place to live.
Lax breed restrictions and 33 off-leash dog parks makes Portland possibly the dog-friendliest city in all the USA. The weather here can be a little damp (which your dog probably doesn’t mind) but the upbeat and friendly atmosphere make it a great place to raise a four-legged family. Just be wary of your pup getting a contact high (we kid, we kid…).
We’re not sure what it is about living in the Pacific Northwest that makes it so easy to love dogs, but they’re dominating when it comes to showing affection for our four-legged friends. Case in point: Seattle has more dogs than children. Your pup will have plenty of friends to play with and tons of parks to explore in this city. See? Sometimes hipsters really do bring good things. Well, one good thing at least.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico has been embroiled in a fight over breed restrictive legislation for a few years now and dog lovers have certainly been making inroads, though you might have trouble finding an apartment if you have certain “aggressive” breeds. Once you manage to find a home, though, your dog will have 33,000 acres of public parks to roam in a fantastic climate.
Boston has a lot going for it in terms of being a hospitable city to dog lovers and their kids. It’s home to the first subway in America to allow dogs to ride freely during off-peak hours, which is great if you have a dog but no car. The only real issue is a lack of off-leash parks for your pup to explore, but he’s free to walk free in most places as long as he’s on a leash.
Minneapolis might not have the warmest climate in the States, but what it lacks in hot weather, it makes up for in accessibility for dog owners. There are currently over 40 dog-friendly restaurants in Minneapolis city limits and over 100 in the Twin Cities area. You’ll no longer have to leave your pooch at home when you’re ready to go out for a bite. Plus, Minneapolis is absolutely beautiful and chock full of walking trails.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City has 25 off-leash dog parks, the third most in the country at last count. Along with above average amounts of sunshine throughout the year, it becomes the perfect place for those with furry friends in the home. Temperatures can get a little hot here so keeping your dog hydrated should be a serious consideration before making the move, and breeds with heavy amounts of fur like Huskies should probably live elsewhere.
We were a bit iffy about putting Colorado on the list due to overreaching breed restrictions around the state against pit bulls, but there’s simply no denying the Front Range is a virtual wonderland for most dogs. Denver has some of the best outdoor access of any city, between its abundance of parks within city limits and proximity to the mountains. It’s also a pretty affordable place to live. For something a little smaller you could also head an hour south to Colorado Springs. With the more dog lovers that move to the state, we hope there’ll be more people willing to fight against the breed bans.
They say Virginia is for lovers and that’s abundantly true for those who love animals. Richmond in particular has a wealth of dog-friendly housing, restaurants and shops where dogs are free to roam at their leisure. The city itself is beautiful and currently in the midst of reinventing itself, making it the perfect time to get in an affordable, friendly market before prices skyrocket. There is no shortage of trails to run and it’s close to the beach and the Appalachian Mountains.
While many cities across the country fail pit bull breeds, Tucson goes out of its way to fully embrace them and fight off stereotypes. The city holds the annual Pitbullooza on National Pit bull Awareness Day to help end stigmatization of the breed. On top of that, the area has an average of 286 days of sun each year so your dog will rarely be confined to the house. Dozens of local restaurants welcome dogs and there are no shortage of outdoor parks and trails to take your pup on.