How many dogs live in West Hollywood?
How many dogs live in West Hollywood? We don’t know. We can’t just use the number of dog licenses issued, because many dogs don’t have licenses. Instead, we’ve prepared a range of estimates, from 1,400 to 13,200.
We know the lowest estimate is too low, because it assumes all dogs are licensed. We suspect the highest estimate is too high. It’s based on averages from a national survey by a veterinarians’ trade group. National averages may not fit West Hollywood well.
If we exclude those two estimates, we still have a very wide range, from 1,700 to 8,500. Our educated guess is that there are at least 2,700 dogs in the city and maybe significantly more. That number is based on a “naive” assumption that half of the dogs in the city are licensed.
Estimate based on licensed dogs
KCRW, a public radio station, assembled a database of over 400,000 dogs licensed in Los Angeles County in 2013. Their database lists 869 dogs in the 90069 zip code.
But West Hollywood is bigger than 90069. It covers parts of three other zip codes. We calculated that West Hollywood had 17% of the households in those three zip codes combined, based on census data. So we added 17% of their dog licenses to the number for 90069. The result is an estimate of less than 1,400 licensed dogs in West Hollywood. We’re rounding the numbers because the estimates aren’t precise.
As an aside, the Los Angeles Times compiled a similar database in 2008. They counted 1,189 licensed dogs in the 90069 zip code. We don’t know if the decrease from 2008 to 2013 was caused by methodological differences, a drop in compliance, or an actual decline in the number of dogs.
Estimates based on licensing rates
We know the actual number of dogs is higher than the number of licenses. According to KCRW, some local agencies believed that 50% to 80% of dogs were licensed. If that were true in West Hollywood, then the city would have 1,700 to 2,700 dogs.
On the other hand, an economist for the Humane Society estimated that only 16% of dogs were licensed in California. If that were true in West Hollywood, then the city would have about 8,500 dogs.
Estimate based on national survey
In 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that 36.5% of US households had dogs. Among households with dogs, there were 1.6 dogs on average. They based their estimates on a survey of 50,000 households.
If we assume that West Hollywood households are “average” dog-wise, then those numbers suggest the city has 8,300 households with dogs and over 13,200 dogs.
That’s 22,632 households (in 2014 per SCAG) multiplied by 36.5%, yielding roughly 8,300 households with dogs. That number multiplied by 1.6 gives the city 13,200 dogs.
If that were true, there would be one dog for every three human residents. We suspect that estimate is too high.
Top dog breeds
According to the KCRW data, the top 10 dog breeds in the 90069 zip code are labrador retrievers and lab mixes, chihuahuas, terriers, German shepherds, shih tzus, dachsunds, cocker spaniels, malteses, golden retrievers, and pugs. The top breeds are similar in the earlier LA Times database, though poodles are in the top 10.
Top dog names
Charlie, Maggie, and Sophie are among the top dog names in both databases. The older, more complete list also features Buddy, Bailey, and Lola. The newer list suggests Lucy, Max, Cooper, and Bella are also very popular.
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