Large or small, pedigree or mutt, young or old, all dogs (and owners) are welcome at W4’s annual canine celebration
Over the last 12 years, the Chiswick House Dog Show has become a hugely popular local institution. Held on the cricket pitch, it is a fantastic family day out – whether or not you’re actually a dog owner.
Inevitably, as the Show has grown in popularity – last year over 730 dogs competed in 18 classes in front of nearly 5000 people – the volunteer team who put so much time into organising the event has become highly professional. But, as Fiona Campbell, Vice-Chair of the Dog Show Committee, says, the philosophy has never changed: ‘Our Show is for every canine. It’s as far removed from Crufts as you could imagine; it’s about having a good time and enjoying and appreciating these little characters that we love.’
The Show was the brainchild of a small group of dog walkers who used Chiswick House regularly. This was at a time when the grounds were decidedly dilapidated. ‘They wanted to contribute to the upkeep,’ Fiona explains. ‘So they decided to put together a typically British, slightly bonkers, Dog Show with a few chairs and tables and a makeshift ring. People turned up, so they did it again the next year and now we’re celebrating our 13th birthday.’
This year’s theme is Sherlock Holmes, marking the 130th anniversary of the publication of the first short story (Joey an Italian spinone is the suitably attired poster dog).
‘As usual, our classes will be entirely subjective,’ Fiona confirms with a smile. ‘We’ll have all the favourites, such as Handsomest Dog, Prettiest Bitch, Waggiest Tail, Naughtiest Dog and My Dog’s Got Talent. The winners will compete to win Best in Show and we have some excellent judges (they will be revealed on the day) – there are sure to be famous faces around.’
All funds raised through the classes, the bars, BBQ and over 70 independent stalls will help Chiswick House and Gardens Trust raise the £600,000-plus it needs annually to run activities and maintain the grounds. ‘What’s nice is that now we have a say in where our money is spent,’ says Fiona. ‘So we’ve been able to pay for specific dog-related ventures, such as fencing for the dog-free picnic area and the supply of free poo-bags.
‘We’re very proud of the Show. It’s run by the community for the community, it’s free and it’s in a good cause. And you don’t need a dog – just come along and enjoy the fun!’
Chiswick House Dog Show is on 24 September.
For information visit http://www.chiswickhousedogshow.org.uk