News & Politics

Puppy Love

Washingtonians are crazy about their pets. Here’s how much.

It’s a typical day at Dogtopia doggie daycare in McLean—Emma, Hannah, Madison, and Dakota are playing and having fun.

“If you see those lists with the most popular baby names, I guarantee you we’ll have dogs with those names,” says Alexandra Bowens of Dogtopia. “We have a Michael, a shepherd mix. It’s not Mike; his dad doesn’t like that. It’s Michael.

“People feel as strongly about their pets as they do their kids.”

Indeed they do. Dogtopia, which charges about $30 a day, had revenues of $1.5 million last year at its Tysons location. One service it offers: dog pedicures.

“Pawdicures are very popular,” Bowens says. Around the holidays, nails might get a slick of red or glittery gold; in summer, perhaps pink shimmer.

Bowens has noticed more Ralph Lauren monogrammed pet clothing and Burberry collars on pets. Kiehl’s in Georgetown sells $16 Cuddly-Coat shampoo. Potomac Riverboat Company in Alexandria gets as many as 20 dogs, owners in tow, on its weekly Thursday Canine Cruise.

In the city where President Truman said that if you want a friend, get a dog, perhaps it’s no surprise that political operatives James Carville and Mary Matalin have five dogs and two cats.

Washingtonians love their pets. So each month The Washingtonian will highlight a topic concerning pets, be they dogs, cats, birds, or fish.

We’ll interview veterinarians, pet trainers, and other experts. Have a question you’d like answered? Send suggestions to

Ten Most Popular Dog Breeds in Washington

1. Labrador retriever

2. Boxer

3. Golden retriever

4. Poodle

5. Yorkshire terrier

6. Shih Tzu

7. (tie) Bulldog and German shepherd

9. (tie) Chow and pug/cocker spaniel

Ten Most Popular Breeds in the USA

1. Labrador retriever

2. Yorkshire terrier

3. German shepherd

4. Golden retriever

5. Beagle

6. Dachshund

7. Boxer

8. Poodle

9. Shih Tzu

10. Miniature schnauzer

Source: American Kennel Club

Facts about Washingtonians and their pets


Number of cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, and other pets brought to the Washington National Cathedral in October for the annual Blessing of the Animals. The blessing—on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals—is also done at other area churches.


The number of dogs who took part in May’s Strut Your Mutt Dog Parade and festival in Bethesda, which raised $70,000 for the Bethesda–Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.


Number of frozen Puppy Pops sold last year by the Dairy Godmother, a frozen-custard shop in Alexandria. Liz Davis, who makes the sugar-free treats in both banana/peanut butter and pumpkin/peanut butter, sells them for $1 each including tax.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.