Bow Wow Wow Yippee Yo in the Bay: 8 Dog-Friendly Events for Summer

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A small dog wearing a bandana around its neck, sitting at a table with a food bowl and cup.
Because yes, dogs are awesome. (Getty Images/ damedeeso)

Be sure to check out our full 2023 Summer Arts Guide to live music, movies, art, theater, festivals and more in the Bay Area.

In a 2006 op-ed for the New York Times, novelist Jonathan Safran Foer pondered: “Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness? And why does it make one feel, in the best sense of the word, human?”

The answer to those questions is this: Who cares, man! Let’s just agree that dogs are the greatest and take every opportunity to hang out with them. Our own dogs… other people’s dogs… all of those dogs at the same time…

If you, like Safran Foer, feel better when there are canines around, you’re going to want to attend at least some of the following dog-centric events in the Bay Area this summer.

A collie wearing a conical party hat.
Get ready to paaaawtaaaaay. (Iuliia Zavalishina, iStock/ Getty Images Plus)

Bark at SPARK Summer Paw-ty

May 21
Spark Social, San Francisco


This fundraiser for Family Dog Rescue is guaranteed to make you as happy as you make your pups. There will be 20 food trucks, 12 local pet-minded businesses, pet portraits, dog training tips, a groomer, a doggy playpen and goodie bags for everyone. Oh, and if you’re reading this list even though you don’t have a dog of your own, the Summer Paw-ty is most definitely for you — there will be adoptable pooches hanging out just waiting to win you over.

A white dog with scruffy fur licks the side of a beer glass.
Dogs. Beer. What’s not to like? ( Getty Images/ Javier Zayas Photography)

Pints For Paws

June 3
Berkeley Humane, Berkeley

Attending a beer-tasting that is also an auction might not sound like the smartest move in the world, but impulse bidding is perfectly acceptable when the proceeds are going to the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society. There will also be food trucks on hand if you need a bite to soak up all those local craft beers, wines and small-batch vodkas before the bidding starts. Expect live music, games and — of course — all of the dogs. Many, many, many dogs. And what could be better than that?

Three women stand on one foot, one arm stretched in the air while holding small dogs.
Dog yoga (doga!) in action. (K. Y. Cheng/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

Doga at Pup Plaza

June 4, July 9
Pup Plaza, San Jose

Yoga: A stress-reliever and life improver. Dogs: Same! What happens when you combine the two? Only the very best things. This 60-minute class is designed to help you deepen the bond with your dog, and leave happier and more relaxed than when you arrived. The Pup Plaza is part of Silicon Valley Pet Project — the first dog community center in the area and a place that only wants the best for your fur babies. Something to ponder when you’re in Downward-Facing Dog.

A black long-haired Chihuahua tilts her head and looks up.
The cutest Chihuahua in the whole damn world. (Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

South Bay Chihuahua & Small Dog Meetup

June 10, July 8, Aug. 12
Milpitas Dog Park, Milpitas

Chihuahuas: Let’s face it, they’re the Donald Trump of dogs. You’re either a passionate hater or an enthusiast so fervent, you’ll get into a fight with a total stranger in the street over it. If you fall into the latter category, you should probably head to Milpitas Dog Park once a month this summer to meet up with other fellows just like you. There, your tiny, shaking babies can wag, sniff and prance around with each other while you join a crew of likeminded lovers of the microdog.

A smiling man wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey and hat bends down to pet a husky dog, also wearing a Giants shirt. Crowds of people stand to one side, observing.
The pre-game dog parade at Oracle Park during Dog Day, 2019. (Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dog Days of Summer (With the SF Giants)

June 11
Oracle Park, San Francisco

For one day and one day only, Oracle Park turns into a glorious — and fairly surreal — dog costume party. The annual Dog Days of Summer event invites Giants fans onto the warning track to parade with their pups before the game, awarding prizes to the best baseball-themed doggy outfits. Be warned that Dog Days tickets are more expensive than the average game, but try to take comfort in the fact that the experience is pretty priceless. Plus, partial proceeds benefit the very lovely people and animals of the San Francisco SPCA. This year’s Dog Days game is against the Chicago Cubs. Feel free to pretend their logo is a Newfoundland for the day…

A french bulldog wearing a night-shirt sits on a chair.
A French bulldog. Being awesome. As usual. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Pug and Frenchie Sunday

June 18, July 16, Aug. 20
Dog Park, Bayfront Park, Mill Valley

Do you have a dog that snores louder than your grandpa in an armchair after a big meal? Then you probably have a pug or a French bulldog. Which means you probably can’t get enough of their tiny flat faces and beefy little bods. Well, get ready to start singing “Somewhere (There’s a Place for Us)” from West Side Story because every month, a group of pugs and Frenchies get together in Milpitas to grunt and hop around together. Presumably, the humans by their sides can do the same thing, should the mood take them.

A woman holds up a small, mostly bald dog while raising her other arm triumphantly. A man and a woman stand nearby smiling and clapping.
A Chinese Crested named Miss Ellie winning the pedigree division of the Ugliest Dog Contest 2009, at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

June 23
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and Event Center, Petaluma

Yes, yes. We know. All dogs are beautiful, yada, yada, yada. Just try and think of this as an event that embraces freak flags flying and dog tongues flopping. There are several categories for pooches to enter in addition to “Ugliest Dog,” including “People’s Choice” and “Spirit Award,” and the grand prize-winning weirdo will take home $1,500. Get ready for bug eyes, bald bodies, bizarre teeth and tons of personality. Be advised though, pawrents, that your entry form needs to be in before June 21 if you want your little darling to be in the running.

A small scruffy dog wearing a life preserver stands on a surf board in the water.
Yes. There are, in fact, enough dogs that know how to surf that it warrants a competition. (Mindy Schauer/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

World Dog Surfing Championship

Aug. 5
Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica


Floofers doing human things is a winner always, but the World Dog Surfing Championship goes next-level: these puppers are doing stuff that a lot of people can’t even do! The surfing dogs are evaluated by judges on confidence level, ability to stay on their surfboard and — this isn’t a joke — tricks. Yes, actual tricks. Like surfing backwards or doing 360-degree spins mid-wave. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they’re doing all this surfing while wearing cute little wetsuits and goggles. Absurdly cute entertainment guaranteed.