Norfolk's pub dogs
PUBLISHED: 09:56 15 November 2016
A walk with the dogs to the pub makes for a perfect few hours, and if that pub has its own four-legged welcome team – even better. We visit four pubs which wouldn’t be without their dogs
Possibly part bear, about the size of a small pony and an absolute softie, jumbo sized Thor is quite a celebrity at The Eagle in Great Hockham. His best pal Bruce, the black Labrador, is an essential part of the welcoming team and the two pub dogs are brilliant at making customers feel at ease.
Thor the Leonberger – a mix of longhaired Saint Bernard, Newfie and Great Pyrenees – takes up a considerable amount of space at The Eagle, and he and Bruce have the characters to match, at ease either side of the bar.
Dog owner and landlord Aaron Lambert can’t imagine a proper pub without dogs: “I love dogs. We’re a pub, not a restaurant and dogs are part of the tradition, like a pool table and darts board.
The dogs stay mainly behind the bar, particular when food is served. But when it’s quiet they go out the front and look after the customers. We have had more dogs than customers before. Dogs are VIPs here, every dog that comes in gets a gravy bone.”
The Eagle, Harling Road, Great Hockham, near Thetford; www.hockhameagle.com
Doris the black Labrador doesn’t live full time at The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham, but she’s there so often it feels like it, says bar manager Alex Munford.
“She is usually the customer side of the bar, she loves everyone and she is great with other dogs, she’s so friendly. She does like to sit at the entrance to the bar, she likes being right in the way,” he says, adding that she has perfected the innocent look when he’s trying to step over or round her.
Belonging to co-owners Mark and Sally Dobby, Doris likes to patrol the pub collecting attention and pats from visiting customers, and loves her spots in front of the fires too.
“She’ll lie there and look out. She thinks the fireplaces are hers,” adds Alex. Doris, and visiting dogs, are welcome everywhere in the pub and garden apart from the restaurant, and have their own menu which includes doggie ice cream, pigs’ ears and biscuits.
Dabbling Duck, Great Massingham, between King’s Lynn and Fakenham; www.thedabblingduck.co.uk
Surlingham Ferry landlady Sonia Cox celebrated the third birthday of her pub dog, Fred the Bassett-cross-cocker spaniel, this year with a dog show for all of his friends. They had all sorts of fun and party games - and of course a doggy bag to take home. He and his best friend Skyla, a springer spaniel-cross-Labrador, help bring a welcoming atmosphere to the pub, says front of house manager Jacqui Collyer, whose partner Nik Ives, the chef, owns Skyla.
“We do get to know customers by their dogs and we do talk about dogs, but then dog lovers do,” she says, adding that dogs feel as comfortable as their owners at the pub. “We have a local who brings his dog nearly every day and the dog puts his paws up at the bar and waits for his biscuit.”
Seven miles from Norwich by car, and closer by river, it’s a busy pub and, when holidaymakers come by boat, Fred will go to meet them and their dogs.
“He’ll go and sit and wait for them,” says Jacqui. “Our customers do like them. One gentleman always orders two extra sausages for Skyla,” she says, adding that the dogs have been brought home-cooked steak before too. “The dogs do hijack the fireside, it’s lovely. There can be more dogs by the fire than customers,” she says, adding that the pub will be holding a Canine Christmas Party on Saturday, December 10 at 1pm, which will include a short walk followed by fun and games for dogs, hot dogs for owners and doggy Christmas cake for the four-legged friends.
Surlingham Ferry, Ferry Road, Surlingham, near Norwich; www.surlinghamferry.co.uk
Small dogs rule at the Earlham Arms in Norwich and its sister pub the White Hart in Hingham where owners’ dogs Marley, a chow-doodle and Rocky, a terra-poo, like to know exactly what’s going on. Dog owners and landlords Matthew Pamplin and Katie Hales wouldn’t be without their dogs, and the pair are joined by Katie’s mother’s dog, Murphy, a pure bred Lhasa Apso.
“Marley is a rescue dog and as such is a little nervous of people, but he’s super loyal and very intelligent, although he can be stubborn,” says Matthew. “Rocky has just turned one and is a very bossy dog. He loves food and can be tempted into anyone’s company for a bite of pretty much anything. When work allows the dogs join us and often sit in on meetings with brewery’s suppliers. This is mainly so we feel like we can get a little time with them as we work long hours most weeks,” says Matthew.
The Earlham Arms, Earlham Road, Norwich, theearlhamarms.co.uk; The White Hart, Market Place, Hingham; whitehartnorfolk.co.uk
Our four-legged friends are welcome at many pubs in the county, where they’re greeted with everything from a warm fireside, bowls of water and biscuits to a doggie food menu.
These dog-friendly pubs include the King’s Arms at Shouldham, near Kings Lynn, where there’s a large jar of free dog biscuits ready on the bar for visiting dogs. Canine regulars know where the jar is and often wait beside it. There are always water bowls outside and a tap for fresh water – handy after walks in the nearby woods.
The Great Danes Country Inn at Beachamwell, near Swaffham, welcomes dogs – and owners - to the bar, restaurant and bed and breakfast rooms, while at The Swan in Loddon there’s a courtyard garden for dogs to explore in the summer and a real fire to stretch out by in the winter. The team always greets dogs with biscuits and water.
There often seems to be at least one dog strolling the bar and enclosed garden at the Kings Arms at Martham where well-behaved dogs are made welcome with lots of attention. There are good walks nearby on the beach at Winterton and around the Broads.
The Orange Tree in Thornham is well established as a dog lovers’ pub, where dogs are usually settled first with choices from the dogs’ menu. This includes treats such as pigs ears washed down with gravy. Water bowls are always available.
There’s plenty of space for dogs to explore at The Eagle on Newmarket Road, Norwich, where the staff are dog lovers and water is always available, while dogs love the walks around the Norfolk Broads and the welcoming fires inside at the Malsters, at Malthouse Broad, Ranworth.
Pets are most welcome at the Saracen’s Head at Wolterton, with water bowls and space to stretch out after a good walk at the nearby Wolterton estate or Blickling. And if you tell the team at The Ship Inn, South Walsham you’re bringing your dog they’ll ensure you have a table with room for your dog to relax.
The Crown Hotel at Wells is another Norfolk venue which makes a big effort to welcome dogs, with dogs allowed in some dining areas as well as the front bars, plus dog friendly rooms. Dog treats, a towel for wet paws, water and lots of fuss is guaranteed too.