What's the typical New York dog? Is it a yippy little terrier named Lucky leaving little brown obstacles for Upper East Side pedestrians? Is it a retriever named Bella tolerating the demon children of Park Slope? Is it a shih tzu named Gizmo humping joggers' legs in Van Cortlandt Park? We took a look at some data from October 2013, obtained via FOIA request from the NYC Department of Health and Hygiene, which returned name, breed, and geographic info on 65,946 registered dogs in the city. That comes out to a mere 7.9 per thousand NYC residents—the New York City Economic Development Corporation estimates that the city's dog population is nine times larger than that*—so consider this data to be an imperfect and likely unrepresentative survey that's pretty interesting anyway.
The table below shows the top 10 names and top 10 breeds among the 65,946 registered dogs. Some dogs were listed as "mixed" with a partially known breed—like "Labrador Retriever Crossbreed." I included these dogs with the known part of their breed.
- Max (757)
- Bella (650)
- Rocky (525)
- Coco (520)
- Lucky (508)
- Charlie (506)
- Lola (461)
- Buddy (436)
- Lucy (418)
- Daisy (417)
- Mixed/Other (17,011)
- Yorkshire terrier (4,024)
- Shih tzu (3,884)
- Labrador retriever (3,542)
- Chihuahua (3,011)
- Pit or pit mix (2,626)
- Maltese (2,396)
- German shepherd (1,831)
- Beagle (1,547)
- Jack Russell terrier (1,169)
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the complete data. The most common combination of listed name and listed breed were shih tzus called "Gizmo," of which New York has 67 registered. Second were shih tzus called "Max" (64), followed by Yorkshire terriers called "Coco" (63). Four major breeds saw a particularly high number of dogs (>3 percent) with the same name. These were:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: "Charlie" (26 out of 666; 3.9 percent)
- Jack Russell terrier: "Jack" (39 out of 1,169; 3.3 percent)
- Rottweiler: "Rocky" (15 out of 468; 3.2 percent)
- Boxer: "Rocky" (21 out of 675; 3.1 percent)
The 64,946 dogs were not evenly distributed throughout the boroughs. The gif map below show the most popular dog by NYC zip code; for almost all zip codes, the top dog was one of the six most popular breeds in the city. Click here to see all the maps in a single image.
Staten Island—with 14.3 registered dogs per thousand inhabitants—was the dog-heaviest, dominated by Yorkshire Terriers and Labrador retrievers. Manhattan, with 13.4 per thousand, had the second-most dogs, while Brooklyn (6.3), Queens (6.1), and the Bronx (5.1) lagged far behind. Names were fairly consistent throughout the boroughs, although "Princess"—11th overall in the city—was the second-most-popular name in the Bronx.
NYC has a reputation for having lots of obnoxious little lap dogs, but is this deserved? To find out, we went through the breed list and marked the dogs that are generally considered to be " small breeds." Of the dogs with listed breeds, a remarkable 62 percent fell into the "small dog" category. The map below shows the distribution of small dogs throughout the city, by zip code. Colored zip codes had at least 25 registered dogs (90 percent had 100+ dogs).
The Bronx was most dominated by small dogs (64 percent), with two zip codes (10475 and 10451) containing 75 percent yippers. The anomalous 11239 zip code in Brooklyn was over 90 percent small dogs, while 10475 in Queens, 10022 in Manhattan, and 10018 in Manhattan also had high marks. 11215 in Brooklyn—Park Slope, essentially—was one of the few zips that was non-majority small dog, as was 10464 in the Bronx (City Island).
Another NYC dog stereotype is that the city is heavy on fancy purebreds. Returning to that "mixed/other" breed designation, and adding in the other dogs that had "crossbreed" or "mix" listed somewhere in their breed, we found that 20,724 of the registered dogs—31 percent—were mixed. Nationally, a little over half of dogs are mixed. The distribution of mixed-breed dogs is shown on the map below, by zip code:
Over 40 percent of dogs in Park Slope/Windsor Terrace (11218 and 11215) were listed as a mixed breed, joining 11429 (Queens Village) and 11102 (Astoria) in Queens as the most "mutt-heavy" parts of the city. 10007 and 10004 in downtown Manhattan were some of the most purebred zip codes, with less than a quarter of dogs listed as mixed, while 10475—Co-Op City in the Bronx—was also low.
NYC's registered dogs do appear to confirm some stereotypes about the city's animals, but there's plenty more research to be done here. You can download the raw data here, and you can find the tidied spreadsheet I worked off of here. The tables below show the city's names, breeds, and dog locations in more detail. "Name not provided" and "mixed/other," the two most common entries for name and breed, are omitted.
Based on NYS " zip code to neighborhood" tables; grain of salt, and all that.
* While New York residents are legally required to register their dogs, the city has only been responsible for dog registration since January 2011, which may in part explain this discrepancy.
Former Deadspinner Reuben Fischer-Baum is a visual journalist at FiveThirtyEight.