Boston Common Becomes More Dog-Friendly

Courtesy of

There’s great news for dog owners in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Midtown… and for those considering moving to these neighborhoods with their canine companions.  Last week the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission approved a plan that will create five areas in the Boston Common where dogs can frolic and socialize leash-free.

Although there will be five areas, only two will be in use at any one time. The sites will be rotated every six months in order to allow the grounds to be restored between uses. The areas will range in size from 21,000 to 57,500 square feet and will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., then again from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., accommodating the hundreds of dog owners who enjoy the beauty and fresh air provided by the Boston Common along with their pets.

Friends of the Public Garden, a nonprofit group that aims to improve Boston’s parks, and its Common Canine subcommittee will run the off-leash sites. In addition to adding waste containers and posting signs to designate the leash-free areas (rather than fences), the groups will also post the following rules:

Courtesy of
  • Dogs must be vaccinated and licensed
  • Dogs must wear collars
  • No excessive barking
  • Dog owners/handlers may not bring more than three of their dogs to the area at a time

The hope is that dog owners will respect the rules – lest they be subject to ticketing by park rangers – and the countless hours that went into securing approval for these dog-friendly areas on the Common.


Courtesy of Friends of Public Garden

Elsewhere in Boston, other off-leash dog parks have been formed in the past several years pursuant to the city’s 2004 ordinance whereby residents can request a dog recreation space in their local park. Among them are the Joe Wex Dog Recreation Space in Peters Park in the South End and Bark Park in South Boston.

With Bostonians making moves to accommodate the growing trend of pet ownership, be sure to read my recent post about finding the right condo in the city for you and your pet.  What’s your favorite spot to take your dog to play in the city?