Chiswick House Dog Show celebrates 20 years

Image: Chiswick House Dog Show

Dressing up, showing off and raising money for Chiswick House

By Rosa Apodaca

The Chiswick House Dog Show, which started in 2004, now attracts thousands of people, some with dogs, some without, some to take part in the competitions, others just to watch and be entertained.

It is not a dog show that takes itself too seriously, with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds taking part in competitions such as ‘Naughtiest Dog’, ‘Best-groomed Dog’ and the ‘Doggy Dash’.

The organisers like to stress that every dog has the opportunity to put their best paw forward.

Image: ‘Sherlock Bones’ entries

The highlight is the fancy dress, with both dogs and their owners expected to dress up. Jan Preece, chairman of the organising committee, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“Every year we had a theme, usually commemorating something, and so we’ve had ‘Sherlock Bones’, ‘Harry Pointer, and the Philosophers Bone’, and last year we did ‘Dogter Who’.”

image: David Tennant judging

Strictly Dogs

This theme for 2024 does not disappoint. Also celebrating their 20th anniversary this year is the BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing, so the Dog Show’s fancy dress theme will be ‘Strictly Dogs’.

Previous participants in Chiswick House Dog Show have become used to Strictly standards of celebrity and glamour, as the Dog Show is also well known for the calibre of its judges.

“The judges aren’t known until the day of the event”, Jan told me, “but past judges have been Mel Giedroyc, Michael Ball and David Tennant, along with sponsors and volunteers as well as vets”.

Video: Getting ready for The Dog Show by Julie Ritson

Off the lead

The event is run by local dog lovers but did not start purely as entertainment. Local dog walkers set up the Dog Show almost as a protest.

“At that time there was a move by English Heritage to ask people with dogs to keep them on leads, and so this group of people who didn’t want to keep their dogs on leads came together as sort of an action group” said Jan.

The Dog Show committee now works with the Chiswick House & Gardens Trust and the funds raised by the event go towards maintaining the gardens.

This year’s Dog Show will be on Sunday 22 September, from 11 am to 4.15 pm, held on the cricket pitch by the Staveley Road entrance of Chiswick House Gardens. It is free to enter, though there is a small admission fee to enter your dog any of the competitions.

They are expecting 600-700 dogs to take part during the day. Visitors can also browse the wide variety of stalls selling every imaginable canine treat, toy, product, clothing, and food.

It takes more than 170 volunteers to run the show. Volunteers aged 9-90 are needed for all sorts of jobs, from runners to rosette givers, so if you have two hours to spare and would like to take part in the Dog Show, read this guest blog from Volunteer coordinator Caroline Starkey to see what’s involved.

READ MORE: Volunteer at the Chiswick House Dog Show, 22 September 2024

Whether you’re a dog owner, a dog lover, or simply someone looking for a fun day out, the Chiswick House Dog Show is a paws-itively wonderful day out.

Image: Everyone’s a winner