Boston is a city for the dogs

Boston is a city for the dogs

Pawing around Beantown’s canine count turns up some unexpected names and hometown pride

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton and JPat Brown

At MuckRock, we were hoping that a dive into dog data would reveal more about the owners we call our neighbors than about the dogs themselves. And, boy, we were not barking up the wrong tree.

In the Greater Boston area, there are over 7,000 dogs that were registered in 2016.

Just as parents think their children beautiful, dog parents in Boston fancy their dogs fetching. The name Bella, which translates to “beautiful” in both Spanish and Italian, made an appearance 71 times.

I would pass hard judgement on the unoriginal Bellas, but I am not in a pawsition to judge. I have two dogs back home named Lucy and Lola, names that come in second and fourth most popular, respectively.

Rank Name Number of Dogs
1 BELLA 71
2 LUCY 62
3 MAX 61
4 LOLA 53
5 DAISY 51
9 BUDDY 45
10 RUBY 44

We can’t talk Boston without talking sports, and the name Brady, moniker of the New England Patriots’ star quarterback, showed up 26 times, with Labradors besting Golden Retrievers 6 to 2.

If there’s anything more beloved in Boston than pigskin, it’s booze. There are 50 dogs named Bailey in the Boston Area, and one underdog in Jamaica Plain named Jack Daniels. The only dog more Boston is Mr. Boston, who gains doggie points by living in the center of Boston with a zip code of 02114 but loses those points by being a Parson Russell Terrier.

From Brutus to Baloo, Chico to Chara, the dogs of Boston can sometimes reveal more about the city and its people than any other FOIA can. And while some of us are very unique (ahem, McNulty’s owners), we all have much more in common than we realize– like the 963 Labradors and all of its poodle variations. Who knew data could get so paw-etic?

Color Number of Dogs
Red 700 - 800
Orange 600 - 700
Yellow 500 - 600
Light green 400 - 500
Green 300 - 400
Light blue 200 - 300
Blue 100 - 200
Purple 1 - 100

Check out the full release below or on the request page, and materials we’ve gotten from other cities on the project page. Want us to file a public records request for pet data where you live? Let us know via the form below or at

Submit your town below and check out our other canine-related Assignment.

Image by Lyonspen via Wikimedia Commons and licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.*