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Dog Owners Face Challenges In Big Cities

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The New York Times recently devoted its Real Estate section to the plight of city dwellers with dogs. In addition to the high costs that come with maintaining a healthy canine in an urban environment, city folks' loyalty and love for their dogs also means dealing with strict limitations on where they're welcome to live.

Breed matters

“Perhaps the only real challenge is finding rental housing that will allow a dog over 25 pounds...and finding affordable housing where you can have big dogs is even tougher,” said Scott Burgess of Brooklyn, N.Y. Burgess and his girlfriend, Rose, own two greyhounds—Nike, who is 65 pounds, and Parker, who weighs in at 72. The apartment the four of them share is small by most standards – around 500 square feet. Yet Nike and Parker don’t suffer because their owners understand the particular needs of their breed.

Greyhounds are bred to be sprinters and not endurance runners,” Burgess said. “One short walk (20 minutes) and one medium-length walk (45 minutes) are about all they really need per day to stay sane. Whenever we have a little extra time, we extend those walks much longer, but as long as they have consistent medium-length walks, they stay happy and healthy.”

Dogs about town

Surprisingly, big dogs are welcome at many urban establishments. They are frequently spotted at banks, dry cleaners and clothing stores. Big dogs are generally not permitted in restaurants or food stores; this is an instance in which small dogs have the advantage, as many food store or restaurants owners will allow dogs who are carried or in a tote. In Europe, dogs great and small are made to feel welcome in cafes, bars and restaurants. Big dog owners have to accept that taxis may zoom on by and public transportation may be out of the question – dogs must be in carriers to travel on city buses and subways.

But for urban-dwelling big dog lovers, these are challenges, not deterrents. “Big dogs equal big love,” Bleier said. And who can argue with that?

The Times surveyed several experts about the breeds best suited for apartment living:

Photo credit: New York Times
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