Dogs—big or small

Dog owners either love big dogs or small ones. Many condos restrict dogs to under 20 pounds so smaller breeds are better suited for those condos. Other condos allow any size of dogs.

Here are two articles about owning dogs in high rise condos.

Toy dogs rule Toronto’s lofty living spaces

Toronto Star
By: Eric Andrew-Gee Staff Reporter
25 September 2014

Since 2005, the popularity of “toy” dogs has skyrocketed, city data shows. That’s the kind that fits in your lap, or purse, and barks all the time. The growth in their ranks appears to be related to the condo boom that has left hundreds of thousands living in very small glass boxes in which owning a Great Dane is virtually unthinkable.

While some may recoil at the rise of yappy breeds, their growing presence offers a glimpse at the ways urbanites are adapting to an increasingly dense, space-deprived city.

Source: Toronto Star

Between 2005 and 2013, the overall population of licensed dogs in Toronto more than doubled. Toy dogs, meanwhile, increased almost five-fold — that is, by 379 per cent. Of the roughly 55,000 licensed dogs in Toronto, about 21,000 are now toys.

Ranging from under six pounds — the smallest Chihuahuas — to the occasional 20-pound pug, many of the toy breeds were bred as lapdogs for the European aristocracy. In recent years, they have become associated with the leisure classes of North America, tucked into celebrity handbags and curled up in the condos of downtown professionals.

Certain miniature dogs have done especially well in 21st-century Toronto. Smooth-coated Chihuahuas — the kind Paris Hilton used to carry in her purse — jumped from 192 to 1,274 between 2005 and 2013, according to the municipal licence data.

The number of Pomeranians — the kind Paris Hilton currently carries in her purse — rose from 258 to 854.

Other tiny breeds have increased even more. Maltese, perhaps the quintessential toy dog, with their silky white coats and button noses, have climbed from 177 to 1,453, a more than sevenfold increase.

The preeminent toy breed in Toronto now is the shih tzu, with 3,748 animals. That makes them the city’s second most popular dog, ahead of golden retrievers. (Labrador retrievers are tops, with 5,578.)

The rise in small dogs parallels the rapid increase in tiny condo units.
According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 22 percent of occupied private dwellings in Toronto that year were condos, and sales continue to soar.

Small dogs reign supreme in condo country. Harbourfront Animal Hospital, near Queens Quay W. and Spadina Ave., is surrounded by a thicket of glass towers. Rebecca Langley, a veterinary technician at the clinic, said that about 90 per cent of the dogs it treats are “small or medium.” Shih tzus, Maltese and Chihuahuas are particularly common, she added.

But despite the obvious size advantage toy breeds present, Langley cautioned against an automatic preference for tiny dogs

“As far as low maintenance, I’m not sure that’s true. Small dogs need more grooming, so owners pay more for grooming,” she said. “As opposed to a husky, which can patiently wait and entertain itself, small dogs are usually more needy.”

Gillian Ridgeway, director of the dog training company Who’s Walking Who, said she’s noticed owners becoming less inclined to go outside with their dogs in recent years. “People are hunkering down a bit more, in the house. More people are stuck on YouTube,” she said.

The ritual of dog walkers congregating in the park has waned, she added, as toy owners keep their Yorkies and Maltese cooped up inside with “pee pads” and litter boxes to accommodate tiny bladders and nervy temperaments. That’s bad for owners, who isolate themselves, and for small dogs, who enjoy the sun and dirt as much as other breeds.

“It’s not a hamster!” Ridgeway said.

Growing Up: Pets in the city
Toronto Star
Wendy Gillis—Staff Reporter
6 October 2012

It isn’t so much a cuddle as a tight squeeze when Cathy Shadlyn invites Hemi up on the couch.

With his colossal head propped on the arm rest, the Great Dane’s long legs and hefty torso nearly span the length of the three-person sofa — which itself takes up much of the living room in her modest Maryvale condo.

Eight-hundred and sixty square feet of space. One hundred and forty four pounds of dog.

“I was in a bachelor apartment with my first Dane, actually,” Shadlyn, 57, said with a laugh. “But I wouldn’t have any other dog.”

Pet ownership in an apartment or condo comes with its own breed of complications: Cramped quarters. Noise concerns. Then there’s the requisite early morning or late night trek outside for a washroom break.

“I wish there was a doggy elevator just for that,” said Carlie Ritch, who has two Dobermans in her waterfront condo.

“At 11 p.m., 50 per cent of the people in the park are in pajamas,” Dave Fraser, who has two dogs in a Yonge and Bloor condo, said of his nearby parkette.

But these complications far from discourage furry roommates in small, stacked spaces. Pet businesses are hawking specialized products (wee wee pads, anyone?) and services like dog walking and daycare are in huge demand across the GTA.

“Condo people are more than 40 per cent of my clientele now, which wasn’t the case 12 years ago” when A Leg Up Pet Services opened shop, said owner Nigel Ryce.

With approximately seven dogs per floor, city councillor Adam Vaughan said he suspects his ward’s condo neighbourhood CityPlace could have more dogs than anywhere else in Canada. But a parade of critters big and small can often be seen coming and going from large-scale residential buildings across the city.

So as a growing number of Torontonians move into the plethora of condos with pets in tow, city planners and building developers increasingly have to consider both two- and four-legged inhabitants. Most important is ensuring there’s space outside when there isn’t much in.

With 52 off-leash dog parks and 10 more proposed, the city’s thousands of dogs (215,000, according to 2007 figures, the most recent available) have substantial space to roam free. But some dog owners worry about the influx of animals that will accompany Toronto’s population boom.

One proposed Eglinton development has come up with a partial solution. The final draft for the Premium condo project at Eglinton and Duplex Aves. includes a dog run on the fourth-floor podium roof, Mills said.

“At first when I suggested they have a dog park it was taken humorously,” Mills said. “Now I’m hearing about this in other buildings.”

Concord Park Place, a condo neighbourhood in North York, offers a pet spa (with dog tubs for easy bathing) and an outdoor pet area with imitation tree stumps for dogs to go about their business.

James Parakh, manager of urban design with Toronto and East York District planning department, said wherever possible the city aims to create green spaces, especially because of the high dog ownership numbers. But there are depleting stores of empty space, and what’s left often comes at a premium.

“With land values downtown, the city is not in a financial capability to buy land for parks,” he said.

The city is currently trying to edge out other bidders for part of a 2.1-acre lot at 11 Wellesley St. W., east of Queen’s Park, that’s owned by the province. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said last week that the city might have to negotiate with the top bidder, but thinks the city can purchase 1.5 acres for the park and leave a developer room for one condo tower.

An increasing number of parks in the city, said Parakh, are likely going to be publicly accessible but privately owned open space. (POPS.)

“Creating parks on private property is, I think, a very good idea, especially if that can be negotiated through the planning approval process,” he said, naming the new development at Front and John Sts. as one example.

For Greg Moshonas, who lives in a 700 square foot Harbourfront condo with a 110-pound Newfoundland dog, it doesn’t matter how it’s accomplished — he just needs to know there will be somewhere for his dog to run as the city grows.

“I think for dogs and just in general, with all these condos going up, it’s going to get a little clustered.”

Ask a Toronto vet

The Star talked to Dr. Ian Sandler, a veterinarian at Rosedale Animal Hospital at Yonge and St. Clair, about pets in condos.

What types of animals do you see people in condos keeping — is it all dogs?

“What we see with the urbanization of our cities is more small dogs and more cats. And we’re seeing a rise in things like birds.”

Are there any particular dangers for condo critters?

The increase in condos and apartment animals has created what’s called High Rise Syndrome, where animals, usually cats, are harmed from a fall higher than four storeys. If the cat survives, it usually has a fractured jaw, leg or hip.

“Luckily, it’s on the decrease because most people are getting aware that when their cat is on the balcony, they can get inquisitive and jump from one side to the other and not always make it.”

Is there a type of dog breed that’s better-suited to condo living?

Generally speaking, the smaller the dog the less physical space they need and potentially the less exercise, Sandler said. But there are large dogs who don’t require much exercise, such as a Greyhound, Newfoundland, certain breeds of hounds, and Great Danes.

“Those are typically big couch potatoes, but they’re big dogs. Whereas a Jack Russell Terrier, those are eight pounds of significant energy. So size doesn’t always dictate the amount of exercise and the amount of space.”

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