Expect fashion shows, four-legged workouts and puppy brunches as the inaugural London Dog Week lands in late March. The first of its kind in the world, the week of paw-some events is all about celebrating life as a dog owner in the capital
Lead image: Ines Arnshoff / Getty Images
London Dog Week, which runs from 24-31 March, was founded by Aneka Johnson and Lois Mallett-Walker with the hope of making London the most dog-friendly city in the world.
It all started with the Doggy Cafe, which Johnson set up to offer dog wellness to corporate companies in the form of dog therapy. When she was promoting it on Instagram she came across the Pets Agency, run by Mallett-Walker, and the pair started chatting.
‘I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great to have an all-encompassing week around dogs in London,’ says Johnson, ‘because there are lots of events that happen but it would be good to have a week dedicated to the dog community and dog parents.’
‘Dogs are people magnets so why not use this to really bring London together more?’
Now the pair are launching a whole week of fun events from a fashion dog show to a pet parenting dinner with Kate Middleton’s brother, James Middleton. But, alongside the fun, Johnson is keen to emphasise the wellness benefits of owning a dog, which she herself has experienced.
When she fell unwell in 2016 and had to take two years off work, Johnson got a French Bulldog named Chubs. ‘In that time my mental health suffered, my physical health suffered and Chubs really inspired me and gave me the motivation to get out bed, to go on walks. I really believe that he saved me my life.’
She goes on to say that dogs can help with everything from loneliness to finding potential dates as they’re an instant ice breaker that get people talking and forging friendships. And as London constantly tops lists of the most lonely cities in the world, it seems we need this more than ever.
As Johnson says: ‘Dogs are people magnets so why not use this to really bring London together more?’
LONDON DOG WEEK: What’s on?
There’s plenty of events to try out this London Dog Week, with different options on all over the city. Kicking off with a Cuddle Club at Perkbox HQ on 27 March, this event sees the team bringing its Dog Squad into the workplace to de-stress staff and give employees an instant mood boost.
On 29 March, Umbrella Furniture will also be treating special humans to a Doggy Wellness Evening at its showroom to boost well-being and experience cuddles from a playful pack of pooches.
Also on 29 March is the Pet Parenting Pain Points Dinner with James Middleton, Kate Faulkner, The Londog and Kimberly Marie Freeman of City Dog Expert, addressing the tricky bit of pet parenting such as behaviour and nutrition, taking place at The Paws Pad with Bookatable.com.
A Sausage Dog Celebration at M Restaurant Victoria is a lunch event on 24 March celebrating this hugely popular breed (each year London Dog Week will be celebrating a specific dog breed), with giveaways, special guest hosts and interactive activities for you and your pup to enjoy.
It’s a common belief that dogs and owners resemble each other, so why not embrace this bizarre phenomenon and get styled to look like your dog? Head to Connaught Village Studio at 3 Porchester Place on Saturday 30 March, where hair experts Fe Hair and Beauty will be on hand to pamper owners with complimentary hair styling, while your pet is treated by a professional London dog groomer at the same time. 11am-3pm.
Also, one of most anticipated events of the week is the Fashion Show Brunch at M Restaurant Victoria on 30 March, where visitors will experience a doggy catwalk featuring designs from talented independent brands.
For the full listings, check out the London Dog Week website.
LONDON’S Best Dog Friendly Restaurants
To celebrate London Dog Week making London more dog-friendly, there are plenty of spaces to spend some quality time with your pup around the city. But while there are many pubs and cafes around the capital that are more than happy to welcome your furry friend in, it can be harder to find the same in fine-dining spots. But look no further – here are some of our favourites…
1 Vinoteca, various locations
With great wine, delicious plates and as many four-legged friends as you want to bring, you can’t get much better than Vinoteca as a dog-friendly spot. The team welcome in dogs across all of its London locations (Chiswick, City, Farringdon, King’s Cross and Marylebone), making it the perfect location for pet owners hoping to enjoy an evening out.
2 Bellanger, Islington
This traditional French brasserie in the heart of Islington has a Michelin Bib Gourmand to its name, but that doesn’t stop it from welcoming in pups. Offering an à la carte menu full of delicious food, as well an extensive wine list for its human guests, it’s a firm neighborhood favourite. What’s more, the chef at the restaurant even makes special dog biscuits for all the pups to ensure that they’ve been thoroughly pampered on their visit.
3 Bluebird, Chelsea
Bluebird in Chelsea is one of those rare spots that treats its four-legged customers with the same service as those of us with two. Dogs receive a bowl of water on arrival as well as a goody bag of treats to enjoy and have even hosted a doggy brunch in the past. Offering a modern European menu full of delicious dishes, it’s not a bad spot for humans either…
4 Mews of Mayfair
One of Mayfair’s most classy spots, Mews of Mayfair is nestled away on Lancashire Court. The trendy restaurant allows dogs in their courtyard and courtyard bar on the ground floor, which is currently Neon Jungle themed. They’ll even provide a bowl and some treats for your four-legged friend.
5 Colbert, Chelsea
This classic Parisian dining spot in Chelsea serves an all-day menu in its gorgeous interiors. You can bring your dog along with you to the Sloane Square spot to nestle in a booth while you tuck in to your meal with no problems. The only thing that the chic restaurant asks is that you let them know if you’re planning to bring more than two dogs – bon appétit!
6 M Restaurants, Victoria, Threadneedle Street and Twickenham
Known for their unrivalled steaks, M Restaurants offer fine-dining across all of their London locations with a difference – you can bring your dog along too. As long as your pooch is clean, trained and makes less noise than a screaming baby, they’re welcome across the whole restaurant. On Saturday lunch time, their Victoria restaurant even offers a Six Legs menu with a two-course menu and, of course, some paw-secco.