Madison Is A Big Dog Town
When it comes to their pet preferences, Madisonians lean towards bigger breeds for canine companions. At least, it's those bigger pups that people are making sure to license.
The University of Wisconsin Applied Population Laboratory looked at the city of Madison's pet licensing data for 2016 to learn about the state capital's dog population. This information was used to create a map that shows where the most (licensed) dogs live, per square mile, in the city.
Where do the most dogs live in Madison? The winning spot is the near east side! In fact, there is dog hotspot all the way along the Marquette-Atwood corridor to McCormick Park in the Eken Park neighborhood. Madison also has lots of dogs per square mile in the near west side neighborhoods of Hill Farms University and Midvale Heights.
The neighborhoods around the Capitol Square are crawling with canines, especially newly licensed dogs in 2016. Madison's downtown doggy density likely reflects the growing number of people moving to this central part of the city in recent years. As more new condos and apartments are built, more people and dogs are moving into them.
Owners report the breed of their dog when they fill out licensing forms, so the Applied Population Lab also looked at the most popular dog breeds in Madison. The most popular type of dog listed is "mixed," otherwise known as a mutt. Indeed, mixed breed dogs make up nearly one-third of all registrations in the city.
Mixed-breed pets outnumber the most popular single breed dog in Madison by almost 250 percent. Second to mixed breed dogs comes Labrador retrievers, followed by golden retrievers. In fact, labs outpaced golden retrievers in registrations by almost 700 licenses versus about 250. German shepherds, beagles and border collies round out the top five most popular breeds in Madison — all of which are medium-to-large in size.
The American Kennel Club tracks the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., and there aren't a lot of differences between the city of Madison and the nation as a whole. Labrador and golden retrievers, German shepherds and beagles were four of the top five breeds in both the city and nation. However, bulldogs (both English and French) and poodles are less common in Madison than they are generally. On the other hand, the border collie stands out as more popular in the city.
Several geographic patterns emerged with respect to where popular dog breeds can be found in Madison. Labs are more popular on the edges of the city, but also on its near west side. Golden retrievers are more popular in the western half of Madison, while German shepherds are more common in its eastern half, perhaps a reflection of the city's long-ingrained east-west divide. Beagles are located in more concentrated numbers on Madison's southwest and southeast fringes, while border collies look to have a fan base in the Randall neighborhood south of the UW-Madison campus.
Of course, there are limited numbers for all dog breeds. A total of 19 specific breeds were listed on 100 or more city of Madison licenses in 2016. Less than half of these breeds are smaller in size, and only the shih tzu and Chihuahua are among the top 10.
What's the largest breed licensed in Madison? There was one Neapolitan mastiff newly registered in 2016 — a breed that averages about 130 pounds! Could this be the biggest dog in the city?
Editor's note: This report was corrected to include city of Madison data for all dog licenses, including those newly registered and renewed in 2016.