One of the most populous and friendliest cities in Virginia, Richmond also happens to be the capital of the state, where many of the political, economic and cultural challenges of the day are addressed.
It is also very, very pet-friendly, as are most cities in this part of the country.
In this article we will highlight just some of this pet-friendliness by describing a few of the best dog parks in the city of Richmond—parks that, for the most part, allow pups to gather and play spontaneously with other dogs, all without the maddening pull of a leash.
Ruff House Dog Park
Getting an A-plus for its title as well as its characteristics is the Ruff House Dog Park, located at 3401 Courthouse Road in Richmond, right in the center of the uber-popular Rockwood Park.
With distinct and entirely fenced areas for large and small dogs, the park is tremendously safe and very well-maintained by the city park staff.
In addition to the several acres of green grass it boasts, the Ruff House Dog Park also features water stations (for dogs and their owners), comfy sheltered benches for viewing and relaxing, his and her restrooms, and plenty of parking that is conveniently located near the entrance to the park.
The Ruff House Dog Park was initiated several years ago as a partnership between Chesterfield County and a group of local neighborhood women, who jointly desired a safe and convenient park in which their dogs could wander and exercise.
Since its completion, it has served hundreds of dogs and their owners.
The park is open from 7:30 AM until sunset, seven days a week, and while everyone is welcome in the main park area, no children under 10 years of age are permitted within the dog enclosures without the supervision of a parent or guardian.
Dorey Dog Park
Located just on the outskirts of Richmond in the friendly town of Henrico, Virginia, the Dorey Dog Park can be found at 2999 Darbytown Road in the northwestern corner of Henrico Park.
The administrators of this park carved out over an acre of space for dogs to play, a cut-out that is completely fenced and bisected in two to accommodate both large and small dogs.
Not only is there sufficient room to gallop about within Dorey Park, there is also a succession of obstacles on which dogs can test their agility, equipment such as plastic tunnels, bridges, ladders and balance beams.
When dogs get overheated from running on a hot day, the cool-down station comes in very handy.
It includes a shady pavilion and plenty of drinking water.
Pet parents love the Dorey Dog Park for its well-kept facilities, shaded viewing area and the pet waste disposal sites, complete with plastic baggies for picking up unwanted messes.
There are also lots of picnic tables for spreading out a lunch or board game, and the adjoining playground area makes Henrico Park a fun outing for the entire family.
The Dorey Dog Park is open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week.
Pet parents are permitted to play games with their dogs inside the gates, but children under nine are not permitted to enter (children 9-15 can be inside if supervised by a parent) the gated area.
Hanover Dog Park
Also just outside the city of Richmond proper (in Ashland, Virginia) is Hanover Dog Park, a mainstay in that neighborhood that attracts scores of dogs and their owners from all over the region, especially on weekends.
The park is located just off Interstate 95, at 13017 Taylor Complex Lane in Ashland, making it a very convenient stop for both locals and out-of-towners looking to provide their pooches with some high-quality fun in the sun.
So what you will find at this awesome dog park?
Well, the first thing you will undoubtedly notice is the two full acres of completely-fenced turf, a mixture of grass, dirt, gravel and natural obstacles that will keep your pup busy for hours on end.
There are also several benches, most of which are nicely shaded by overhead trees.
Inside the Hanover Dog Park are lots of things that will attract your dog’s attention, like balls, chew toys and other diversions.
An agility course inside will help test Fido’s skills and bravery, and there is also a water feature, around which are several buckets from which dogs can drink.
Kiddie pools, located in every corner of the park, help provide some fun-to-watch splashing and water fun, as well as a measure of cooling relief from the hot summer sun.
Park rules are posted on the gates, and should a given dog get too rowdy, he may have to spend some time in the enclosed “time out” area.
Although Hanover Dog Park—and the larger Hanover Park—can provide hours of family fun, owners of very small or timid dogs should be forewarned that there is NOT a separate zone here for the smaller dogs (as there is at other dog parks in the area).
The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Considered by many to be the gold standard for dog parks in the region, Barker Field is situated at 2650 Park Drive in Richmond, at the corner of Shirley Lane.
Barker Field is the oldest dog-specific park in the city and also the largest, measuring several acres in total area.
It is the nearest dog park to the historic downtown part of Richmond, and includes all of the bells and whistles dogs love.
It has separate gated enclosures for large and small dogs; water features for cooling off and hydration; manmade and artificial obstacles for pups to maneuver; and plenty of shady nooks for resting should dogs get overheated.
Barker Field has many of the conveniences that dog owners love, too, including shaded picnic tables and benches, full-service restrooms, and plentiful nearby parking.
The adjacent Byrd Park has a playground structure for the kids, and a series of paved and unpaved trails for exploring and sightseeing.
Barker Field is open from sunrise to sunset, 7-days a week, and admission is always free.