The Yorkie Index and the Dog Data of New York

Teach Your Best Friend to New York Like A Local With Our Favorite Dog Spots

By Si Si Penaloza

The Yorkie is top dog

The dogs of New York are as varied as its denizens, and their fluctuating numbers reveal much about what’s going down in their neighborhood. Indeed, our pets are a quirky, informal index for understanding urban gentrification, and at times predicting it — when the designer puppies move in, rising home prices may not be far behind. To track the city’s changing dog preferences, The New York Times analyzed the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s dog license registrations from 2012 to 2016, the most recent full year data were available.

Turns out, as housing prices rise in an area, dog breeds tend to skew smaller and more expensive. Certain breeds maintain their dominant stance in specific neighborhoods, for example the Pit Bull in particular parts of Brooklyn and the Rottweiler in the Bronx. The New York Times used the health department’s definition of neighborhood boundaries, and the data set, which covered the five boroughs, included the dog breed, sex, name and the owner’s home zip code.

By and large, cramped city living means smaller dogs. Citywide, the top dog in 2016 was the Yorkshire terrier, or Yorkie, the amicable lap dog that grows to roughly seven pounds, followed by the Shih Tzu, another toy breed, and the much larger Labrador retriever. The Chihuahua came in fourth, followed by the muscular pit bull, which includes a number of terrier breeds. Next came the tiny Maltese and the brawny German shepherd (up to about 90 pounds). The beagle, poodle and Pomeranian rounded out the list.

New York dogs had names like Max (the most popular), Bella, Coco, Charlie, Rocky and Lola. The data even showed there was also a Biggie in every borough! 156 registrations in all, ranging from a Rottweiler in Queens to a French bulldog in Staten Island — perhaps in honor of the Brooklyn-born rapper Biggie Smalls.

We’re inspired by this new data to recommend our top sights and sounds for you and your pup on your next trip to these New York neighborhoods:

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