“I’m Just Taking the Dog for a Walk… honest!” Dog friendly pubs

How many times do we hear this? “I’m Just Taking the Dog for a Walk” ( I’m going to the pub for a swift pint!). Much to dog lovers delight dog friendly pubs are becoming more and more popular in the UK. There are probably as many types of beer as there are dog breeds and it is claimed that after Newcastle’s Brown Ale advert campaign along the same lines of this euphemism, their beer was widely referred to in local conversation as, “the dog”.

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Beer and dogs have had a long association and many pubs reflect the partnership between man and dog in their names; The Dog and Gun, The Hare and Hounds, The Tally Ho! and One Man and His Dog.  Equally, there are many canine inspired brewing companies such as the Brewdog and Black Dog Brewery, based in Scotland and the Wychwood Brewery U.K.

There are also specific ales named after dogs such as The Cottage Brewery’s cask ale, the‘Dog Father’ and J.C and R.H. Palmers Ltd with their, ‘Dog Rough’ beer.  Wychwood Craft Beers goes one step further and has named one of their ales the ‘Dogs B*******s’

In many ways the pint of beer and the loyal dog have always gone hand in hand and so perhaps it is little wonder that brewers have made this connection when it comes to selling their ales which is gradually filtering to pub establishments themselves who are not just dog friendly, but are increasingly catering for the canine palate.

Some would go so far as to say that dogs are an essential part of what British pubs are all about and what makes them so great.  Back from a long walk for a ‘swifty’ in the pub with a dog at your feet, open fire in winter, crumbs to be ‘hoovered’ up and fuss to be had from admiring fellow pub goers and what’s more, we constantly seem to be perfecting our relationship with pubs and dogs.  More and more pubs are advertising the fact that they are dog friendly, recognising the importance of the relationship between human punter and his four legged friend.

Some owners will even allow the dog to decide if a visit to the pub is on the cards.  Alfie, a canny little Bichon Frise from the Midlands will often lead his owner (allegedly!) to the local for a quick pint, although the draw for Alfie is most certainly the opportunity for a few crisps or a treat from the landlady.

Many pubs are now going that extra mile for their four-legged visitors and welcoming them not just with bowls of fresh water and the chance of a dog biscuit, but some are even serving up special doggy ales and doggy menus.  The Brandling Villa in Newcastle is one such establishment which serves up a pet friendly menu, including a Sunday lunch, to be washed down with dog friendly beer made from malt, barley and meat extracts.  It is completely non alcoholic and free from carbonation and hops, which can be harmful to dogs.

It is becoming a trend for pub owners to provide dogs with their own treats while accompanying their owners.  The Wheatley Arms in Wharfedale even has a ‘dog owners guzzling society’ (D.O.G.S) where the twenty five members and their dogs have a meal together on a Thursday night.  The menu includes; Starters; Meatystrips or Chewstrips. Mains; Sunday Roast: Turkey or Beef with potatoes, Pedigree Smachos. Pudding; Doggy chocs. To drink, Beaphar dog beer.

Rules must be strictly adhered to however and any disobedient dog or owner swiftly loses their membership.  By all accounts it’s a convivial affair where dogs of all breeds and sizes and their owners get to meet new friends and chat about the days events over a beer and a bonio. According to the chap who initiated the club, members tell their wives they’re taking the dog for a walk, and then go round to the pub.

The Kings Head in Suffolk also serves up a doggy menu of honey dried pig snouts and doggy sausages which have been incredibly popular with the local canine community who refuse to walk past the door.  The Jacksons Boat in Manchester also caters for dogs by selling dog friendly beer and arranging dog shows and fun dog days throughout the year for customers and their canine pals.

Of course, it goes without saying that dogs should not be drinking alcohol or consuming large quantities of rich human food and all the establishments that do cater for dogs do seem to provide appropriate foods.

Certainly, there is nothing nicer than the treat of dropping by for a pub lunch after a long hike in the countryside with the dog and even better if your dog can quench his thirst and enjoy a little culinary pleasure too.  Mind you if you did end up, “taking the dog for a [very long] walk”, which happened to be via the pub; you can always opt for hair of the dog the following morning.

I pray thee let me and my fellow have
A hair of the dog that bit us last night –
And bitten were we both to the brain aright.
We saw each other drunk in the good ale glass.

John Heywood, 1546.