One of the biggest problems any dog owner in Hong Kong will face is living accommodation. There’s so many factors involved here so I’ve decided to write a 2 part article on this. Bear with me if this all gets a bit long-winded….
Let’s start off by looking at all the factors a dog owner needs to take into consideration when looking for a place to call home with their dog(s). Aside from the the human factors (i.e. local amenities, length of commute to work, living close to family members, etc), a dog owner will need to consider the following:
- Size of the accommodation with any extra space included
- Local amenities for dogs, such as dog-friendly parks, stretches of area for walks, etc.
- Distance of travel to and from pet shops and vets
- Does the building/landlord/estate allow dogs
It would be difficult to break down the above points individually one by one with examples, as one flat might cover several aspects but miss out on one or two key ones, and another vice versa. Of course, you could be a multibillionaire (even a millionaire will not cut it in Hong Kong) and own a big mansion/condo with its own vast garden for the dog to play in!
Generally, we can look at 3 types of houses: village houses, normal flats (with elevators), and walk-ups.
If you are looking to rent, a lot of landlords don’t like the idea of pets. They’ll either not rent to you or charge you more in case of damage. A lot of the estate agents I’ve spoken to when I mentioned Mylo either gave me a shake of the head in disapprovement, or just completely ignored I mentioned it. A few of the agents which I managed to get on with actually told me not to mention a dog, rent the place and as long as the landlord doesn’t get any complaints, then everything’s dandy! But please pay attention to the rules set in different housing estates, some have a strict no dogs policy, others don’t have these policies e.g. Caribbean Coast in Tung Chung.
The advantages of living in a village house (be it on one level of three or the entire village house) is space. You will find these in the New Territories of Hong Kong, less accessible to main ‘hub’, but you will find more space in and around the house. From looking at prospective flats, I’ve found that village houses floor space generally do to stray much away from 700 square metres, and with the floor plan being quite ‘squarish’ so you get a lot more usage space, which mean more space for your dog to play indoors (and less chance to bump and break things!)
A typical new build village house in the New Territories.
The above photo shows a more modern newer village house, but you will find some a lot older than this. The top floor normally gets rented at a higher price as it will come with the open air roof top, great for BBQs and letting your dog run around, so thats a combined total of nearly 1400 square metres of doggie playing space!
With village houses being in the New Territories, you will generally find more open space amongst the buildings and maybe some woodland if you feel a bit more adventurous. The downside of living with your dog in a village house in the New Territories would be the local vet and pet shop might be miles away, you will need to arrange transport to get to them, which can be a nightmare if your dog becomes sick in the middle of the night.
One very important attention to detail is to note if there are any feral dogs in the neighbourhood. Trust me, these can get very frightening when they start to chase you and your dog in their packs. I was once chased by a pack of 6 feral dogs in Lau Fau Shan whilst holding Mylo in my arms, its not an experience I want to go through again. Also, these feral dogs will most probably be teeming with mites and other parasites, not something you want transmitted to your loving dog.
Feral dog packs, keep your beloved pet dog away from them.
Normal Flats (with elevators)
These types of accommodation will take up the vast majority of what is available in Hong Kong. Once again, please pay attention to any no dog policies set by the estate. I have seen a few instances of dog owners smuggling their tiny dogs in and out of elevators in no dogs allowed estates, but please don’t try this, you don’t want the headache, or heartache, of receiving a demand from the housing estate to get rid of your dog or move out!
These type of flats you’ll find everywhere, coming in all shapes and sizes. To be honest, you are not going to get much out of your money, so don’t expect a spacious indoor area. I will not be discussing flats that has a indoor usage space of less than 200 square metres, unless your dog is the size of tennis ball, they are just too small to house a dog.
Remember to be courteous to over people living in the same building as you. So have your pet dog controlled at all times when others are around, especially in enclosed areas like in an elevator, I’ve seen dog owners wait until there’s an empty elevator before boarding.
Living in such ‘cramped’ conditions, your dog will need access to more ‘play’ space around the area, so you need to have look around the neighborhood to get a feel of how pet friendly the area is and look out for any dog friendly areas. Not all parks in Hong Kong are dog friendly, so do some research first, and most probably even in the dog friendly parks, your dog will need to be leashed at all times. Have a look at the Hong Kong government website here which lists all the dog friendly parks.
One the few dog parks in Hong Kong.
Some of the more best dog friendly parks are:
To be continued in part 2