Dog Restrictions in San Francisco Condos

Posted On: April 3, 2023
By: Team JacksonFuller

Full disclosure: We love dogs. We can relate to that crazy dog lady who posts a ridiculous number of pictures of their puppy on the socials. Not surprisingly, we find the dog restrictions in many HOAs to be, well, a bit restrictive. Restrictions about dog quantity, dog weight, and dog breed are the most common pet restrictions we see.

What are the typical regulations for dog owners in San Francisco? Read on for that information, as well as some updated info about the breeds that bark the most or are the most active or laziest dogs according to Hepper and Pet Plan. Barking and boisterous behavior are wo qualities that really affect how people feel about dogs in condo buildings.

Dog Restrictions in San Francisco Condos

The San Francisco Animal Care and Control (SFACC) is responsible for enforcing animal-related laws in the city. They have strict regulations for dog owners to ensure the safety of both dogs and humans.

All dogs in San Francisco are required to be licensed and have up-to-date vaccinations. There are also restrictions on where dogs are allowed to be off-leash. Dog owners can only let their dogs off-leash in designated dog parks, and they must always be under voice control. In addition, all dogs must be on a leash when they are in public areas, such as sidewalks, streets, and parks. These same rules typically apply in a condo building.

Many CC&Rs prohibit dogs who weigh over a certain weight, it is typical in SF buildings to see a weight limit of 35 pounds. The lowest weight limit we’ve seen is 20 pounds. The highest we’ve seen is a weight limit of 70 pounds, or a building may choose to not restrict a dog’s weight. Our experience is that an HOA caps the weight of resident dogs to try to maintain peace and quiet in the building for all building occupants, pet owner or not.

According to a study by Hepper, the following breeds bark the most:

Miniature Schnauzer
Cairn Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier
Fox Terrier
Bichon Frise
Shetland Sheepdog

See any kind of trend on that list? Seven of these ten are small dogs that would be welcome in an HOA — and be more likely to bark than their larger doggie brethren. So there goes that justification for a weight restriction.

Perhaps the HOA believes that bigger dogs need more exercise and will make more noise just by moving around the condo? Pet Plan has identified the following breeds as the laziest:

Basset Hound
Chow Chow
Clumber Spaniel
English Mastiff
Great Dane
Saint Bernard

8 of these 10 couch potato dogs are medium or large. So it’s difficult to justify the blanket belief that bigger = louder. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that every dog has its own personality and energy level, so even within these breeds, there may be variations.

What about the possibility that a bigger dog will make a bigger mess in the common areas, say, if a wet dog walks in from the rain with muddy paws? We say that one goes back to the owner — no matter how big or small the dog, the owner needs to dry off Fluffy or Fido before walking through the lobby or into the elevator. Common courtesy is common courtesy, regardless of the size of the pooch at the end of the leash.

Breed Restrictions in San Francisco Condos

Probably one of the foremost political hot buttons of the dog world today! Many HOAs prohibit breeds such as pit bulls, mastiffs, Rottweilers or Dobermans. This one is more difficult because in some cases it’s out of the HOA’s control — the HOA’s insurance policy may prohibit these dogs or others considered to be fighting breeds. (And while it’s not the case in San Francisco, some cities have enacted breed-specific bans on certain dogs. Not surprisingly, the ASPCA is against these laws, and there are many passionate arguments on both sides.)

HOAs are trying to reduce liability and financial exposure by limiting breeds that are perceived to be the most dangerous to other residents. What do you think? Should HOAs prohibit dogs of certain breeds or over a certain weight?

Living with pets has numerous benefits for both the pets and their owners. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, “Research shows that interacting with pets can help reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and even improve heart health. In addition, pets provide companionship and can help combat feelings of loneliness and depression.”

Dr. Becker also notes that owning a pet can help teach children responsibility, empathy, and compassion. “Pets are a great way to teach kids about caring for another living being and the importance of respecting animals. Plus, they provide unconditional love and companionship.”

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