Zillow and Rover found that 72% of dog parents find it important to live in a dog-friendly city with plenty of other dog owners, dog parks and pet-friendly rentals. To find the fastest-growing, dog-friendly cities, Zillow and Rover considered newly registered dog-owner accounts from Rover’s database of millions of pet profiles, together with Zillow page views of pet-friendly, single-family home rental listings.

The data revealed that Antioch, Tennessee, ranks No. 1. It landed the top spot largely because it saw the largest annual increase in new Rover dog accounts out of all cities analyzed. The city also had a significant increase in Zillow page-view traffic to pet-friendly, single-family rental units, up 62.2% from last year.

“It’s clear our pets are at the center of our families, and they’re influencing how and where we live,” says Kate Jaffe, trends expert at Rover. “Pet parents want to do right by their dogs, including giving them the best resources and opportunities to be happy. At the same time, people have realized that pets can improve our own health and well-being. Moving to a location with a big backyard and proximity to a park can not only improve our pet’s life—it may also lead to more exercise, more outdoor time, and more social interaction that can actually make an impact on our own happiness.”

Rounding out the top five are Baltimore; Alexandria, Virginia; Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina; and Kansas City, Kansas, each seeing double-digit, page-view growth since last year. Cumming, Georgia came in at number six.  Check out the rest of the fastest-growing, dog-friendly cities, according to Zillow and Rover, below.

  1. Antioch, Tennessee
  2. Baltimore
  3. Alexandria, Virginia
  4. Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
  5. Kansas City, Kansas
  6. Cumming, Georgia
  7. Bellevue, Washington
  8. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  9. Palo Alto, California
  10. Charleston, South Carolina
  11. Lee’s Summit, Missouri
  12. Bentonville, Arkansas
  13. Denver
  14. Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  15. Philadelphia
  16. Lewisville, Texas
  17. Chicago
  18. Rochester, Minnesota
  19. Norman, Oklahoma
  20. Grand Rapids, Michigan

We previously reported in 2017 that Millennial Home Buyers Choose Dog Friendly Homes, so preferences to keep Fido happy haven’t changed in the last five years!

“Pets are widely considered part of the American family, so it follows that they can factor into moving decisions,” says Manny Garcia, a population scientist at Zillow. “This research shows an increase in pet ownership among recent movers and suggests that pets can impact housing preferences. In some cases, they may even be the catalyst for a move, along with other factors, such as remote work and shifting family priorities.”

Pet Owner Preferences

Pet owners are more likely to buy larger homes with more bedrooms. Buyers with at least one pet are more likely than those without pets to buy a home larger than 3,000 square feet (17% versus 10%). About one-third of buyers with a pet (36%) purchased a home with four bedrooms or more, compared to one-quarter of buyers without pets (24%).

Zillow’s research also indicates that buyers with pets are more likely to consider private outdoor space very or extremely important (73%) compared to buyers without pets (65%). Conversely, buyers without pets are nearly twice as likely to purchase a condo or buy into a housing co-op (14%) than buyers with pets (8%).

Previous research done by Zillow and Rover specifically on dog owners found the majority of those surveyed (62%) say they would consider moving to a new home to better accommodate their pup. A Zillow report on 2020 home sales found certain pet-friendly features can contribute to a higher sale price or a faster-than-expected sale. Homes that advertise a doghouse in their listing description can sell for 3% more than expected, while homes advertising a fenced backyard or a dog run can sell up to five days faster.

Significant increases in pet ownership were also seen among renters in 2021, but at a lower rate than home buyers. More renters now report owning at least one pet (57%) compared to 2020 (51%). Pet ownership has decreased among homeowners surveyed; 61% of homeowners reported having at least one pet in 2021, down from 67% in 2020.