The Friends, in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and dog owners from the community who formed into the Friends sub-group Common Canine, has developed a plan that provides meaningful recreation for dogs on Boston Common, protects turf and plantings from overuse, and minimizes interference with other users’ quiet enjoyment of the park.  Approved by the Parks Commission in 2013, the Program aims to engage dog owners as active stewards of the park, to establish and enforce clear rules and expectations around dogs in the park, and to create a long-term, sustainable mechanism for restoring and renewing those areas of the park that are used for dog recreation. It is the first approved off-leash area in a city park that does not fence off and designate a single-use restricted space in this historically open park of shared use.

View the current off leash area here.

If you would like to support this program, donate using the form below!

What dogs and their owners need to know:

  • Success of this program depends on you!
  • Please follow the rules and refer to posted signage on Boston Common for locations of approved areas.
  • If you have questions or feedback, please email:
  • Hours of operation: 6 A.M. to 11 P.M. except during special events
  • There is a maximum limit of 3 dogs per adult at any one time
  • Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult

Your dog must:

  • Be current on vaccinations
  • Have a current license
  • Wear an owner ID tag at all times
  • Be leashed when entering and exiting the area
  • Dog owners/handlers must carry a leash with them while in the off-leash area

Please clean up dog waste and discourage digging and barking.

View our Facebook group page here.


Membership gifts to Friends of the Public Garden are fully tax-deductible.