17th November 2023
Dogs are the most commonly owned pets in the UK, with nearly a third (31%) of all households owning a pooch in 2023.
Because of this, we wanted to find out which are the most dog-friendly cities in the UK, so we carried out research to discover the best places to raise a pup across the country.
We crunched the numbers in a variety of categories to find out the top cities, looking at everything that’s important to pooch parents, from the number of pup-friendly pubs, to available green spaces and beaches, and even the number of job adverts open to canine colleagues.
So, where are the most dog-friendly cities in the country?
Our research found that the number one city for dog owners in the UK is Brighton. The seaside city unsurprisingly has the easiest access to a beach, compared to other cities, with Brighton beach a favourite for many coastal getaways. It also boasts the highest availability of dog training classes (118 per 100,000 people), as well as access to 22 dog friendly cafes and 66 pro-pooch pubs.
The city also scored well for available green space, and Brighton and Hove hounds will no doubt be familiar with strolls along the famous Brighton beach, as well as areas of green space like Preston Park, Devil’s Dyke, and Sheepcote Valley.
In second place, Exeter scored highly across all categories, it has great access to training classes (104 per 100,000 people), as well as good availability of dog-friendly restaurants (58).
Chester ranks as the third most dog-friendly city and is also at the top for pro-canine cafes, with a whopping 20 per 100,000 residents. Wakefield meanwhile is the top city for dog-friendly bars and restaurants (99 per 100,000). If you’d rather visit a pub with your pup, the City of Westminster has 282 dog-friendly pubs.
For those pet parents who work from an office, it can be equally important for them that their company welcomes canine colleagues. The City of Westminster ranked highest in this category too, with 428 live dog-friendly job listings. Wakefield took second place with 134 listings.
As part of our research, we also looked into the most common dog names and breeds around the UK, using Animal Friends’ data from all current live policies. Taking the number one spot for dog breeds, French Bulldogs proved to be the most popular pooch in cities around the UK, followed by the loyal Labradors. Meanwhile, ‘Bella’ was found to be the most popular name for female pooches, whilst Teddy was the most common male dog name.
If you’re planning to get a dog, there’s a lot more you need to know than just whether you have good access to beaches and dog-friendly pubs. To help you understand everything you’ll need to know before getting a dog, and which dog breed might be right for you, our animal wellbeing specialist, Catrin George, has shared her top tips.
1. One size doesn’t fit all
Catrin explains: “Every dog is built differently, with their own unique personality and capabilities, and as such, will have a different set of needs.
“While breed can help indicate some of the traits and behaviours your new pooch may have, don’t rely solely on breed stereotypes to anticipate how a certain dog will behave - exposure to different environments, training, living situations and people will have a far larger role on your dog’s temperament. Make sure you take into account your hobbies, living arrangements, family structure and your surrounding area when deciding if a dog is right for you, as well as their needs too.”
2. Think ahead
Catrin advises: “Before getting a dog, you need to make sure you know who is going to be responsible for every aspect of their care. If you work away from home, who will walk the dog when you’re not there? Does a local dog walker have space for your dog? Or perhaps you can take your dog in to work with you? These are all conversations which need to be had before you commit to bringing a dog into your life.”
3. Dog proof your home
Catrin shares: “It’s hugely important that you take a look around your home to make sure that it is secure, to protect against any escape attempts! You’ll also need to make sure you dog-proof your home and garden, checking for any dangers so your new canine companion can explore safely when they arrive.”
4. Register with a vet
Catrin states: “Before you bring your dog home, you should make sure that you are registered with your local vet - we’d advise doing this as early as possible as vet practices can often be in high demand. It’s also advisable to do some research about what services your vet offers and get an idea of costs for routine procedures (annual vaccinations, for example) and whether they are contactable out of hours for emergencies.”
5. Consider the costs
Catrin says: “Whether you buy or rescue your dog, this will be the first cost of many. There are both daily and ongoing costs for what will hopefully be a long and happy life together. This includes bedding, collars, leads, toys, treats, food, grooming – and other essentials. You may also need to pay for a trainer or behaviourist.
“It’s also a good idea to look into dog insurance options, exploring what might suit your budget and your pet’s needs, to ensure you’re covered if anything were to happen. While no one wants to imagine their dog getting poorly or injured, insurance can help give you peace of mind knowing you have support with future veterinary care that your pet may need.
“Not only that, many pet insurers also offer additional services that can help you manage pet costs, such as the free online vet support Animal Friends provides to their dog and cat customers with Joii Pet Care.”
“Adding a dog to your family can be an incredibly rewarding and meaningful experience, but it’s important to be aware of these costs and considerations upfront to make sure you can provide for your dog throughout their life.”
Whether your city made it as one of the ‘dog-friendliest’ in the UK or not, every area has something unique to offer its canine residents. As long as you’re providing a loving home and your pooch has everything they need, that’s all that matters.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, we have lots of resources, tips and advice to help you on the journey; visit: https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/dog/dog-advice/