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This City Is Going to the (Little) Dogs

Bill Morris in Co-op/Condo Buyers on February 12, 2018

New York City

Dog's City

The Yorkshire terrier is New York City's top dog.

Feb. 12, 2018

There’s a new tool for measuring gentrification, the New York Times reports. Look no further than a neighborhood’s dogs

The paper’s analysis of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s dog license registrations from 2012 to 2016 revealed a telling fact: the higher the real estate prices in a neighborhood, the smaller and more expensive the dogs. There are about half a million dogs in the big city, and the top dog in 2016 was the Yorkshire terrier, or Yorkie, the well-coiffed lap dog that grows to about seven pounds, which would indicate that New Yorkers tend to be stinking rich. Next most popular was another small dog, the Shih Tzu, followed by the big (up to 80 pounds) lovable Labrador retriever, the tiny Chihuahua, the brawny pit bull, and the miniscule Maltese

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the erstwhile Ground Zero of Hipsterdom, provides a sharp snapshot. The median sale price for apartments rose by 62 percent from 2012 to 2017, and in that time the dog population changed just as dramatically. “You used to get a lot of mixed-breed dogs coming and going,” says Vinny Spinola, the owner of the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, or BARC, a no-kill pet shelter that opened in the neighborhood in the pre-gentrification 1980s. “With the new people, now there are more pedigrees, like French bulldogs, Jack Russells, Labradoodles. It’s changed an awful lot.” 

In Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where real estate prices have undergone a similar rise, the popularity of the petite French bulldog jumped 90 percent, the biggest surge among the neighborhood’s favorite breeds. Oddly enough, the neighborhood’s preferred pooch is the pit bull, which is most prevalent in the Southeast Bronx. But even the Bronx is changing. 

In the borough’s Morris Park neighborhood, prices are getting higher and the dogs are getting smaller. The top dog in the neighborhood is now the diminutive Shih Tzu, which led Marie D’Angelo, who owns a home in the neighborhood, to remark, “It seems now everyone wants to put their dog in their pocket book.”

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