Dogs, dogs, dogs. Small ones, big ones, fat ones, skinny ones; ones that come when you call and ones that worship the word ‘ball’. Previously, we’ve told you about the Best Melbourne Brunch Spots for Patting Other People’s Dogs – and frankly, if we were to rate the popularity of that article in doggy terms, you leg-humped it.
So we thought we’d give you the low-down on where you can take your four-legged friend this summer, if you’re lucky enough to have one. And if you’re not, well, now you have even more places to go to fill the dog-shaped hole in your heart. Winning.
‘Best in Show’ at QV Cinema
On Saturday 12 December, QV Cinema is hosting a Best-Dressed Dog Competition during a fundraiser screening of ‘Best in Show’, a mockumentary about a prestigious dog show. All proceeds from the night will go to The Lost Dogs Home and… come on, guys, pooches in partywear. Do we really need to say anything else? Tickets are moving fast so nab yours here.
Big Day Out for Dogs & Canine Christmas Market at KCC Park
Run by the good folks at Dogs Victoria, this annual celebration of all things canine is the ultimate destination for dog lovers. Showdogs will be demonstrating their skills, breeders will be answering questions, stall holders will be selling doggy goods, and the Canine Museum will be hosting a Canine Art Competition. There’ll also be relay races, obedience training, and fun competitions like Owner and Dog Lookalike. Which, frankly, is worth attending just to see this segment...
Doggy Winery Tours by Gourmet Pawprints
Combine your love of wine with your dog’s love of walks on a Doggy Winery Tour in the Dandenong Ranges. The full-day or half-day tours see pups fully catered for throughout the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley, Daylesford, or the Bellarine Peninsula. Tour guides will pick you up from Port Melbourne in a dog-friendly, air-conditioned bus and even entertain your pooch at lunchtime to ensure you get a chance to savour the three-course lunch and wine selection. All dogs receive personalised doggy gift packs, and the tours conclude with a trip to the outdoor Doggy Winery Cinema where they’re constantly streaming the sheepdog flick ‘Oddball’. Frankly, if vino with your furbaby under the stars doesn’t get your tail wagging, then we don’t know what will.
Midsumma Dog Show at Midsumma Festival 2016
The iconic Midsumma Dog Show features categories like Cutest Bitch Heat and Best Trick Heat, and offers a visual feast of some of the fiercest outfits you’ve ever seen on dogs - or people. The date for the 2016 dog show is yet to be announced, so keep your ears pricked and your treats at the ready.
Aranga Reserve Dog Activity Centre, Donvale
A dedicated adventure park for dogs, this is the pawfect place to let your dog make new friends, as well as test its agility on specially designed equipment that is part educational, part social. The park is basically a huge outdoor gym for dogs with jumps, hoops and a tunnel as well as picnic tables and play areas. Don’t forget a Frisbee!
Brighton Dog Beach, Brighton
Specially designed so dogs can romp around off-leash, this fully-fenced dog beach has a gate on a quick-shutting spring and plenty of poop-bag dispensers. If your dog is a sun-worshipping, saltwater-loving beach bum then you’ll be glad to know that there are also three off-leash dog beaches in St Kilda, as well as one in Port Melbourne.
Collingwood Children’s Farm, Abbotsford
Clearly the Collingwood Children’s Farm isn’t just a place for horses, pigs, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, ducks, chickens, cats and guinea pigs… you can also bring your dog to the mostly-outdoor café for some of the best paddock-to-plate food in town. The fortnightly farmer’s market is a massive dog meet-up, and the many trails tapering off the central path beg to be explored with your canine companion.
Heide Museum of Art, Bulleen
Indulge your arty side with dog-in-tow at the Heide Museum of Art, where 15 acres of sculpture park provide ample room for your dog to scamper, socialise and sniff other dogs’ butts to its heart’s content. Café Vue at Heide offers outdoor seating as well as takeaway hampers and lunchboxes designed for picnicking.
Cafes and Pubs
Drugstore Espresso, South Yarra
This South Yarra gem has an adorable live-in pooch, so the staff will make every effort to ensure yours gets plenty of water and pats. Their breakfast, brunch and lunch is bloody brilliant, too, and their coffee game is next-level.
Moo Moo Café, Prahran
The winner of many coffee roasting awards, this quirky Prahran café has a sign welcoming dogs and a big sunny courtyard. Moo Moo also stocks kooky furniture, knick knacks and homewares handpicked by the team at Cheryl Bastow Design.
Argo Loves Company, Fitzroy
In Greek mythology, Argos was Odysseus' faithful dog, and both the name and the décor here are dog-inspired. As well as water bowls, staff prove themselves to be the patron saints of chewy snacks.
Dundas and Faussett, Albert Park
After a stroll around Albert Park Lake with your dog, max-out on the all-day breakfast menu at Dundas and Faussett under an outdoor umbrella. The kitchen is open til late so if you get lost on your bayside walk, don’t worry.
Dancing Dog Café, Footscray
Probably the dog-friendliest café in town, the courtyard here is a huge open space that dogs will love. The staff are actually so into dogs that there’s a picture gallery of recent dog visitors as well as a featured Dog of the Month.
Breakfast Thieves, Fitzroy
There’s always a water bowl set out and ready for dogs to quench their thirst at the entrance to Breakfast Thieves. The sidewalk tables are on a street that is quiet enough to keep dogs chilled out while still giving them plenty to look at.
Little Creatures Dining Hall, Fitzroy
Grab a trestle table and a pint with your pooch – it’s allowed here. And what could be finer on a summer’s afternoon?
The Hot Poppy, North Melbourne
One mistyped letter away from being ‘The Hot Puppy’, this Errol Street café boasts heaps of outdoor seating and a hangover-friendly menu. Dogs will have plenty to entertain themselves with all the sights, smells, and trams whiffling past.
Great Northern Hotel, Carlton North
Another beloved local with an in-house pooch, this old-school pub will let you take your dog out back into the beer garden or keep it by your side as you watch the footy on the big-screen telly.
Young Bloods Diner, Fitzroy
The courtyard area here is a good place for your pooch to have a lie down after exploring the dog-friendly Rose St Markets with you. There’s booze as well as cold-pressed juices and single-origin coffee.
Kew Nursery and Café, Kew
After picking up your gardening supplies or visiting Victoria Park, kick back in the laidback café here to have a coffee or feed with your dog. It’s smack bang in the middle of the nursery so it’s mighty nice to sit in to boot.
Photo credit: The Beresford, (Urban List Sydney)