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What Can City Dog Licenses Tell Us About Chicagoans?

By Kevin Robinson in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 13, 2014 10:00PM

Photo credit: Duane Rapp

Thanks to a request to the City Clerk's Office by DNAInfo Chicago, we now have a better picture of dog ownership in the city. Of the nearly 40,000 active dog licenses that were reviewed, Labrador Retrievers were the most popular breeds on the city's North side, while Pit Bulls were popular in zip codes on the city's South and West sides. In fact, after Labradors, Pit Bull types are the second most popular dog breeds in the city. That's in comparison to the 1980s when German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers were the favored "guard dog breed" in Chicago.

And while 40,000 dog licenses sounds like a lot, it's probably not. That's because there are significant numbers of dog owners that don't license their dogs in the first place. For example, in the Loop ZIP code of 60604, there are only 20 dog licenses in total. What's striking in the DNAInfo Chicago report is not only what dogs are popular in Chicago today, but how people report them. Because so many people have dogs they adopted from shelters or other outlets where the dog's breed is uncertain, they "are reporting what type of dog they think they have. Most don't know," said Robyn Barbiers, president of the Anti-Cruelty Society. "Most dogs should be categorized as 'mixed' because that's what they are."

The least popular breed in Chicago is the Pomeranian, with only 332 registered licenses and the most popular non-Poodle mixed dog is the Puggle, a mix of Pug and Beagle. What kind of dog do you have and where do you live in the city?