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Boston dog licensing deadline is March 31

Licensing data from 2020 revealed the most popular dog names in Boston.

With a current increase in dog adoptions during the COVID-19 quarantine, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Animal Care and Control Division is reminding City dog owners that the annual deadline for licensing their pets is March 31. All dogs in Boston require a new license each year. 

“A license is your dog’s fastest ticket home if they become lost, and it’s the law,” notes Animal Care and Control Director Alexis Trzcinski. “A dog license is like an ID for your pet. If they ever get lost, the chances of you being reunited are much higher with a license.”

In preparation for the 2021 licensing deadline, the Animal Care and Control Division analyzed licensing data from last year to reveal the most popular dog names of 2020. The top five dog names registered in Boston were Luna, Bella, Charlie, Lucy, and Lola. Rounding out the bottom of the top 25 were Buddy, Riley, Finn, Coco, and Winston.

All dog owners must license their dogs by Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Dogs must be licensed if they are older than six months. Owners must provide a copy of their dog’s current rabies certificate and proof of spaying or neutering. For an in-depth guide on dog licensing, including a link to license your dog online, visit Animal Care & Control’s how-to article

The fees for licensing your dog are $15 for a neutered male or spayed female or $30 for an intact male or female. Dog owners who pay online with a credit card will be subject to a 2.7 percent service fee (the minimum service fee is $1.00). License applications may also be picked up in person or requested by mail; walk-in and mailed payments are accepted via check or money order. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency, Animal Care and Control office hours are limited; please contact the office ahead of your visit. Whether you provide your information and payment online, by mail, or in person, your dog’s license will be mailed to you.

If you are renewing a dog license, you will need to provide your dog's license number. The dog licensing fee is waived for service animals and residents age 70 and older. Owners must also pay any outstanding Animal Care and Control fines. The fine for an unlicensed dog is $50. Please call (617) 635-534 or email with any questions about the licensing process or to update your information in the database. 

For current social distancing guidelines in City of Boston parks, check our COVID-19 website.


Based on City of Boston 2020 licensing data:

  1. LUNA
  2. BELLA
  4. LUCY
  5. LOLA
  6. DAISY
  9. MAX
  10. PENNY
  11. OLIVER
  12. TEDDY
  13. MAGGIE
  14. STELLA
  15. OLLIE
  16. MOLLY
  17. LILY
  18. SCOUT
  19. ROCKY
  20. MILO
  21. BUDDY
  22. RILEY
  23. FINN
  24. COCO


dog licensing pic
Derek from Hyde Park reminds Boston canines that the deadline for annual dog licenses is March 31.

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