Dogs in pubs

'Pubs should adopt a dog-friendly policy' says Kennel Club

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Public house, Dog, Kennel club

Dog friendly award: the Spice Ship, Weymouth, Dorset
Dog friendly award: the Spice Ship, Weymouth, Dorset
Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko claimed pubs should be dog friendly because there are proven benefits for businesses that welcome dogs.

She said: “Venues have found that their guests have an improved overall experience and there is an increased level of interaction between customers and staff when dogs are present. In a recent survey, four out of five companies said that business had improved as a result of expanding their customer base to include canines.”

Recognition with awards 

Kisko also said despite being a nation of dog lovers, many owners struggle to find bars and restaurants where their canine companions are welcome and said pubs that allow dogs to curl up under tables, provide water bowls and possibly offer treats should be recognised and rewarded, which is why the club organises the annual Be Dog Friendly Awards.

She added: “The presence of dogs has also been proven to help lower people’s blood pressure and elevate ‘happy hormones’, which will encourage guests to relax and potentially stay in a pub for longer.”

  • Click here​ to find out about the licensee who framed a dog-related review

The Spice Ship, Weymouth, Dorset, won the Best Pub/Bar award at the Be Dog Friendly Awards last year.

Dog treats

Wendy Buckingham from the pub calls her four dogs her “fur kids” and the pub keeps dog treats behind the bar.

She said: “We have got our local dogs that come in a couple of times a week, who wait at the end of the bar for their little treats. We do anything we can to make the dogs feel at home and the owners too.”

“When someone walks in and they order their drink, we give them a couple of treats for their dog too and they really like that.”

Buckingham added that man’s best friend can bring people together: “Dogs start a conversation, everyone talks to each other about their dogs and then the conversation just carries on from there. We have a lot of repeat business from letting dogs in and believe it is all about making everyone feeling comfortable and at ease.

“We are a family pub and want everybody to come in and feel welcome.”

There may be future plans for canines to get more involved at the Spice Ship: “We are considering doing special events for dogs because over the past five years, we have definitely got a lot more dogs in, sometimes it is like Crufts in here!”

Social interaction

The Kennel Club explains that a benefit of being dog friendly is our canine friends encourage and improve social interaction because they create a talking point.

Manager at the Ancient Briton pub in St Albans, Hertfordshire, Emily Dorrington said the pub is open to dogs coming into the pub.

She explained that the number of people coming to the pub with their dogs has increased due to word of mouth: “People pop in and ask if they can sit in the beer garden with their dogs and we tell them yes.

“We are a locals' place, not right in the middle of town, so it is nice that when people are out walking their dogs, they can just walk in, grab a drink and sit out in the beer garden with their dog.”

Though not all pubs are entirely dog friendly, such as the Windmill Inn, Werrington, Staffordshire, which banned canines​ after it was claimed up to 20 dogs filled the the pub one day, 'jeopardising' customers.

Heineken launched a campaign for its lager Kronenbourg earlier this year by opening a bar staffed by dogs​.


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