The Most Dog Friendly Cities in the World

dog friendly cities amsterdam

image: @nerodogtraining

Whether you are a proud pooch parent already, or plan to become one, the city you live in will largely dictate the kind of lifestyle you and your dog can enjoy together. Travelling around the city on public transport, finding a place to live, and eating out with a dog, can all be a challenge depending on where you live. Here we share our guide to 10 of the world’s most dog friendly cities. From Cape Town to Copenhagen, see how these city’s pet friendly credentials stack up. 


LONDON

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Public transport: 4/5 stars

Buses and trains in London are generally welcoming of dogs, so taking your four-legged friend on public transport shouldn’t be an issue. Bear in mind that the underground is roasting hot in summer – so best avoided for dogs – and that tube stations often ask that pooches be carried down the escalator, which isn’t ideal for big breed owners. Take a look at our guide to taking your dog on public transport for more tips. 

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

Although Londoners love dogs, its landlords can be more hesitant. It is possible to find a dog-welcoming rental, but be prepared for some extra effort, especially if you’re searching for a flat. There are signs that things are changing however, with some new developments incorporating a number of pet-friendly floors.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

The majority of London pubs are happy to welcome pooches (there’s even some with bar top biscuit jars). There’s less pup-friendly restaurants, however it’s not hard to find places you can dine with your dog – particularly in Chelsea. Take a look at our Luxe Pet Guide for some of our favourite dog friendly pubs and restaurants in London. 

Walkies: 5/5 stars

One of the joys of living in London is its abundance of green spaces. Whatever part of the city you live in, there’s certain to be a park nearby, and the majority of them are open to dogs. Take a look these 10 best parks in London to take your dog walking to plan your next outing. 

Other things to bear in mind

All dogs in the UK must legally be fitted with a microchip by the time they’re 8 weeks old, and this is essential in London where dog-nappings aren’t unheard of.

 


PARIS

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Public transport: 4/5 stars

Things got a little easier for Parisian pups last year, when the city’s Metro service started offering reduced-fare tickets for larger dogs. Small dogs travel free, but should be in a cage or bag, and bigger breeds must be muzzled and leashed. Buses and tramways also welcome pooches aboard.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

Finding a dog-friendly apartment in Paris isn’t impossible, but like many major cities you have to hunt that bit harder. Sites, such as Lodgis, often let you filter by pet-friendly homes, saving some of the legwork. Remember, Parisian apartments are often on the small side, meaning big dogs won’t have much space to roam.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

Visitors to Paris are often amused to see owners and dogs dining alongside one another. Most bistros and cafes are happy to let you sit with your pooch, both inside as well as on the sidewalk in front, however it’s always best (and polite) to double check first.

Walkies: 2/5 stars

When it comes to pups in the park, Paris has some strict rules. Often dogs are banned from green spaces altogether, or must be kept on-lead or away from lawns. Newcomers to Paris should be careful to read up beforehand, and prepare a list of pup-friendly places they can walk their dog.

Other things to bear in mind

Historically, Paris has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to poop scooping – which it’s tried to fix in recent years. There are rumours of wily officers waiting behind trees to catch out irresponsible owners, so always have the baggies handy.


AMSTERDAM

Public transport: 5/5 stars

Dogs can go by tram, metro or bus in Amsterdam, and all free of charge. Trains also welcome pooches, but they’ll need a day ticket of their own. As would be expected, dogs should be well-behaved and kept on a lead while travelling. 

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

As with many cities, finding the perfect rental with your pup is a challenge. It’s worth finding an agent who knows what you’re after, but there are also websites that let you search specifically for pet-friendly homes. For those going for a long weekend, there are plenty of holiday apartments and houses that do welcome dogs.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

Amsterdam has plenty of dog-friendly restaurants, although it’s good to check with the owner first. Many eateries that don’t let dogs indoors are happy for you to sit on the terrace outside. Places that are no-go for canines often have signs in the window to let owners know.

Walkies: 4/5 stars

Dogs can run free in the city, but only as long as they’re in the off-leash areas. Luckily there’s no shortage of parks, and Amsterdam City has even put together a map showing owners exactly where they can and can’t walk their pups.

Other things to bear in mind

If you want to explore Amsterdam’s famous canals you can book onto a dog-friendly cruise with Rederij Paping, so you don’t have to leave them behind.


COPENHAGEN

Public transport: 3/5 stars

Small dogs are allowed onto buses, trains and the metro for free, but must be in a carrier or bag, and it can’t take up a passenger seat. Bigger dogs will need a child’s ticket, and should be kept on the floor. There’s also some specific restrictions about what bus routes pooches can get on, at what time of day, and where they should sit – so read up first.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

Finding the right place for you and your pup in Copenhagen depends on finding an understanding landlord. Using a website like BoligPortal lets you look for only pet-friendly homes, and while there’s less on offer for dog owners there’s still plenty of options.

Pubs and restaurants: 1/5 stars

Most restaurants in Copenhagen aren’t pet friendly, which means you won’t be having many dinner dates with your dog.

Walkies: 3/5 stars

Many of Copenhagen’s parks require dogs to be kept on the lead, but there’s no shortage of places to choose from – including Valby Park, the city’s biggest, and Bernstorff’s Park, which has a ‘dog forest’. 

Other things to bear in mind

Once a year, amusement park Tivoli – one of the city’s most popular attractions – opens its doors to canine visitors for its Dogs’ Day in Tivoli event.


ROME

Public transport: 3/5 stars

Dogs must be muzzled and leashed to travel on public transport in Rome, and will need their own ticket. There are also rules about where and how to board, which means dogs getting the metro should be in the first or last carriage, and should enter at the back on buses.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

There’s plenty of holiday homes that open their doors for dogs, many of them in the centre of the city. Finding something longterm requires more effort, but Rome has a large resident dog population – meaning pet-friendly rentals do exist.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

Romans might not be quite as welcoming as Parisians when it comes to eating alongside their dogs, but generally speaking the rules are relaxed. Many restaurant owners are happy to accommodate dogs, and when the weather’s sunny there’s usually space to sit outside.

Walkies: 5/5 stars

Rome has some beautiful parks dotted around the city, including Villa Borghese, Villa Ada and Villa Pamphili. Dogs are allowed off lead, which means there’s plenty of green space for them to stretch their legs.

Other things to bear in mind

Located just outside of the city, Bau Beach is a sandy stretch that welcomes dogs of all sizes. It’s a chance to chase some waves, bask in the sun, and even accompany humans to yoga classes.


NEW YORK

Public transport: 4/5 stars

Dog owners will have to be sly to get around New York’s public transport rules, which say only dogs that can fit in a bag are allowed on. There’s been some imaginative responses to this from New Yorkers, who have managed to squeeze even the bigger breeds into something resembling a bag.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 4/5 stars

New York has its fair share of swanky hotels, some of which – like the Tribeca and Soho Grand – welcome dogs too. People hoping to move there longterm will have to look that bit harder to find a rental, however there’s no shortage of places on offer – as evidenced by StreetEasy’s 1000+ pages of pet-friendly apartments.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

Whether you want doggie takeaway from Shake Shack, or a proper sit down meal, you’ll be able to find restaurants that’ll serve you and your mutt. Not everywhere is happy for canines to come in, so scope out the situation beforehand. Generally speaking, bars don’t allow dogs.

Walkies: 3/5 stars

New York does have dog parks, but space and greenery in them can sometimes be limited, and crowded. That said, there’s the dog beach at Prospect Park for off-lead runs, as well as the 13 dog fountains and 23 leash-free zones of Central Park

Other things to bear in mind

Pooches that like a pampering will fit right into this city, which has doggie spas in pretty much every neighbourhood.


CAPE TOWN

 Public transport: 1/5 stars

Cape Town buses will only take dogs if they’re kept in a travelling crate, and dogs are not allowed on trains. There are some pet transport services however.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 2/5 stars

Finding a longterm living solution for you and your dog can be tough in Cape Town. Pet-friendly flats are limited, and owners will have to spend some time hunting down the perfect property. Those after a hotel should fare better though. Cape Town’s Radisson RED accepts canine guests, and even has a resident mascot – Baxter the boston terrier.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

With a little bit of research, food-loving dog owners can find somewhere to dine with their dog. There’s plenty of cafes in particular that are happy to let your furry friend in, and restaurants will often serve owners and pooches sitting outside together. We’ve even heard rumours of a doggie menu at Die Damhuis in Melkbosstrand.

Walkies: 4/5 stars

There are some beautiful beaches in Cape Town, but the rules around dogs can get a little confusing. In some cases, canines are only allowed to gallivant before 9am and after 6pm, between November and April. Most beaches have signage explaining the rules, and often let owners know where the nearest dog-friendly spot is.

Other things to bear in mind

Cape Town will soon be home to the biggest dog hotel in the planet, when Frits opens its second outlet in the city. It’ll include a spa and salon, and a bar area for pups.


TORONTO

Public transport: 3/5 stars

Toronto’s public transport doesn’t welcome dogs during peak hours, unless your pup is small enough to fit into your bag, so owners will have to plan around this.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

Flat-hunting dog owners will have a more limited choice in Toronto, but there are landlords that are happy to accept pooches. There’s also several websites that list pet-friendly rentals, making the process a little easier. Plenty of the city’s hotels accept canine guests, including the Four Seasons Toronto.

Pubs and restaurants: 1/5 stars

Generally speaking, Toronto’s restaurants are closed to four-legged guests. Technically they’re not allowed on the patios either, but some places turn a blind eye. The city saw its first dog-friendly cafe open earlier this year, suggesting the tide might be turning.

Walkies: 4/5 stars

Humans and dogs that like to hike will find plenty of walking routes in and around Toronto, whether they’re after a gentle trail or a five-hour march. Many of these require dogs to be kept on their leads, but do have off-leash areas that are marked.

Other things to bear in mind

If your pup has ambitions as a salty sea dog, try a trip with Toronto Cruises, which lets hounds onto its boats – as long as they’re on-lead and behaving themselves.


BRUSSELS

Public transport: 4/5 stars

If your dog’s small enough to fit onto your lap, it can travel free of charge on Brussels’ buses, underground and tram. Bigger dogs will need a ticket, and must wear a muzzle.

Pet-friendly accommodation: 3/5 stars

Brussels has a good amount of holiday lets and hotels for humans and their furry companions, however long-term accommodation will need some hunting down.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

Brussels has plenty of dog-friendly restaurants and cafes for owners to sniff out (including Mexican eatery ChezWaWa, which gives discounts to Chihuahua owners). Brasserie owners are generally laidback about letting dogs in, particularly if they’re small. 

Walkies: 3/5 stars

Dogs must be kept on a lead, if you’re walking them in one of Brussels’ many green spaces. Pups with energy to burn should head for the leash-free zones at Parc de la Jeunesse or Park Liebrecht. In some places, such as Wolvendael Park, dogs can run free anywhere they want in the early morning, and late evening.

Other things to bear in mind

The Sonian Forest is around half an hour’s drive from Brussels, and is a great place for a long walk. There are specific dog zones, where pooches can run freely, but be careful to keep them on the leash elsewhere.


MADRID

 
Public transport: 3/5 stars

Dogs are allowed on trains and buses in Madrid, but must be in a carrier and not disturb nearby passengers. Bigger dogs should be muzzled and kept on a short lead, and only one animal per passenger is allowed. Four-legged travellers must also avoid the metro during rush hour, and stay in the last carriage.

Pet-friendly rentals: 2/5 stars

Madrid is gradually becoming more dog friendly, although finding an apartment that will welcome a furry tenant can still be a challenge. As with most major cities, humans will need to spend some time flat-hunting to find somewhere suitable.

Pubs and restaurants: 4/5 stars

Madrid’s cafes and restaurants are often happy to let dogs join their humans, but beware of the No Perros sign in the window. The city’s official tourism website recommends Federal Cafe and La Infinito for food, and Boho Bar for drinks.

Walkies: 4/5 stars

Madrid has some beautiful parks, including its grand El Retiro and huge former hunting estate Casa de Campo. If you want to let your dog off lead for a run, you’ll need to arrive before 10am or after 8pm, when you can make full use of parks’ on-site agility areas and doggie drinking fountains.

Other things to bear in mind

Dog owners in Madrid should watch out for the Pine Processionary Caterpillar, which can be toxic for pooches, causing vomiting and foaming at the mouth.

Do you live in, or have you visited any of these cities? Do you think they are dog friendly? Or have we missed some other very dog friendly cities? Tell us in the comments below! 

Emma Tucker is a London-based writer and editor, who's been covering all things design-related for the past six years. After studying English Literature she spent several years working at magazines including Dezeen and Creative Review, before going freelance. Emma's now a regular contributor to several magazines, including The Spaces and Pitch, and also works with design brands on copywriting and editorial projects. On a day-to-day basis she's assisted by puppy PA and cockapoo Bear.

1 Comment

  • Reply October 24, 2018

    YN

    It’s true that one can go with a dog almost everywhere in Amsterdam. However off leash walking is not an option at all. https://maps.amsterdam.nl/honden/?LANG=en – no green areas at all in the city. Few parks that require commute, and owning a car and especially parking it is a challenge on its own. Biggest park – vondelpark, can be walked through in 15 minutes.
    So in Walkies category I would give Amsterdam 1/5 at best.

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