A celebration of our four-legged friends with Chiswick House Dog Show

Image: Our first dog of the week, Winnie

For those who follow us on social media, you will have spotted our new #dogoftheweek posts celebrating our four-legged visitors. If you are one of our many regular Chiswick House and Gardens dog walkers do send us a snap of your dog enjoying the grounds to info@chgt.org.uk for a chance to be featured. 

Dogs are not new to Chiswick House and Gardens. Gillian Clegg, author of The Chiswick Bookpublished this fascinating story on Lilly, believed to be the beloved pet of Georgiana, 5th Duchess of Devonshire. You can find Lilly’s tomb, erected in 1804, just in front of the Ionic Temple. Its Latin inscription, translated by Gillian reads: 

“Beneath this monument lies Lilly, a little dog and the most good-natured of all dogs, of long time a most beloved companion, and in beauty and loyalty, a model of canine genius. She was free of the weaknesses of humankind while manifestly exhibiting its virtues. She was entirely without malice, but not without love. This tomb, and her mistress’s tears bear witness to her virtues. Her memory will not perish from the earth.” 

Image: Lilly’s Tomb at the Ionic Temple


The vast majority of dog walkers are locals who often visit multiple times a week. Many have known each other for decades through their dogs and the social aspect of dog ownership is well known, as are the exercise benefits from dog walking.  

Our grounds have become popular with dog walkers because of the variety of areas offered – the area near the cricket pavilion for ball games; the woods for ‘sniff and explore’; the lake area for canine socialising and of course the Café for their human friends. Dogs must be on lead in this area, but dog treats and sausages are usually available. We are one of the few parks in London to distribute free dog poo bags, thanks to the generosity of the Dogs Trust. We get through an incredible half a million bags in a normal year!  

Due to the surge in dog ownership as a result of the pandemic, together with the number of households who can work at home we’ve seen an enormous boom in the number of dog-walkers in Chiswick.  Whilst it’s wonderful to see so many people enjoying the grounds, dog waste has doubled in the last year. We spend over £1,000 a month collecting and disposing of dog waste!  [insert dog show picture] 

The Chiswick House Dog Show was started in 2005, as an evolution of the Chiswick House Organised Walkers, to raise money towards maintenance of the Grounds, particularly with respect to dogs. Proceeds from previous Chiswick House Dog Shows have already been donated this year to help address the cost of dog waste management, providing bins, bag dispensers and refreshing our guidelines for all dog walkers at every gate – to ensure everyone has a safe visit – check them out here. 

Get involved with the Chiswick House Dog Show by registering your dog in one of the categories (deadline for online registrations is 5pm on 24 September), offering your services as a volunteer (to help set up or clear up, as a steward or shaking charity buckets) or simply by attending and enjoying the event on 26 September. Find out more.