Urban Dog Owners


To understand the urban dog owner in the US.

Early Findings

  • UrbanDogNYC is a website with resources for city-dwelling dog owners. While specific to NYC, it contains tips and hints applicable to any major city. Some major themes to this website are using public transport, finding off-leash dog parks and finding dog-friendly events.
  • One market research report found that urban pet owners were more likely (than their rural counterparts) were more concerned about food allergies or special nutritional needs. They also were more likely to be worried about food contamination/safety and seek out natural/organic brand products.
  • Urban pet owners are more likely to be more vigilant about their pet's health, since they notice every bowel movement and thing eaten. The dog is in their immediate presence far more than a rural-living owner.
  • Living in the city brings greater risk of infectious illnesses, as these dogs are more social (parks and doggie daycare) and have access to things like increased trash on the street.
  • Additionally, owners and pets living in an urban setting are more prone to allergies. "Urban dwellers are nearly twice as likely as rural residents to assert that their pets have special nutrition needs (45% vs. 24%) and they are even more likely to be concerned about their pets having food allergies or intolerances (51% vs. 22%)."
  • Urban dogs tend to be better socialized, since the nature of their lives usually brings them in close contact with other (unknown) dogs. A dog living in a suburban or rural setting may only rarely meet other dogs.
  • New York City's top dog breed in 2018 was the French bulldog. It was also popular in other big cities like Las Vegas and Oakland. Next on the list are the Labrador, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, German Shepherd, Poodle, King Cavalier Spaniel, Havanese, Rottweiler and Yorkshire Terrier.
  • For comparison purposes, here are the top 10 breeds for the entire US: Labrador, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, French Bulldog, Bulldog, Beagle, Poodle, Rottweiler, Pointer and Yorkshire Terrier. So some of the dogs on the NYC list are there simply due to overall popularity, but comparing these lists lets us see what breeds city dwellers prefer.
  • These lists do not change much when looking at other major cities. Chicago's top 5 are Labrador, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Bulldog and French Bulldog. Miami is German Shepherd, French Bulldog, Labrador, Golden Retriever and Rottweiler.
  • The AVMA found pet ownership does have slightly lower rates in more urban states.
  • Young professional millennials are prevalent pets owners in urban locations. Important to them are a greater range of products and the perception of high-quality.
  • Urban pet owners tend to spend more money on (and time with) their pets and shop online (63%, compared to 42% of rural owners).
  • 70% of pet owners in urban locations, compared to 55% living in suburban locations, say their pet has anxiety or stress issues. This could be due to closer proximity to their pets and projecting their own feelings onto the animal.
  • Interestingly, 69% of urban pet owners agreed with "the participation by pet product brands in pet welfare and rescue causes and events plays a significant role in which brands I buy," with only 32% of rural pet owners feeling the same way

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