A pawfect weekend at Goodwoof 2024

23rd May 2024
Thousands of happy dogs and their families spent a glorious weekend in the sun.

Goodwoof, presented by MARS Petcare, is described as the world’s chicest, most stylish dog event and it certainly lived up to the hype. Packed full of activities, celebrities, superb surprises around every corner, chances for dogs, large and small, to get involved in activities, brand new areas to explore and numerous spots to relax in, feed the body and soul, listen to music, shop, learn and unwind, made for an event designed around everything a dog loves to do.

Each day, the event was opened with a spectacular parade of this year’s celebrated breed, the fun and fabulous Labrador. Over 750 Labradors, across the weekend, proudly paraded down from Goodwood House, together with the Duke and Duchess of Richmond, to the toe-tapping rhythms of the amazing Batala drummers. The Duke has a special fondness for the breed, remembering his grandfather’s black Lab, Bruce, and there were smiles aplenty from early visitors to Goodwoof as the amazing sight passed by.

Barkitecture was another big draw for visitors this year as extremely talented architects from across the world, as well as the UK, put their talents to the test by designing kennels for the travelling hound. Four-legged visitors enjoyed trying out the superb twelve kennels which were displayed throughout the weekend with the competition culminating in the announcement of the winning kennel ‘Pet All’ designed by Rolls Royce Motor Cars.

The announcement was followed by a thrilling auction, managed with aplomb as always, by Bonhams, which raised an incredible £29,200, the largest amount raised at Goodwoof yet, for the 2024 official charity, Jai Dog Rescue. Barkitecture entrants included internationally-renowned architects Grimshaw Architecture, Birds Portchmouth, Russum Architects and David Snowdon with Matthew Rice. Judges included Grand Design’s Kevin McCloud MBE and comedian, Bill Bailey.

Since the Paris Olympics are now only months away, Goodwoof paid homage with its very own version designed specifically for dogs. Spectators were joined by celebrated Olympians Dame Laura and Sir Jason Kenny who handed out prizes to the victors in hurdles, 25 metre sprint, hammer throw, fetch and long jump. Across the weekend, over 200 dogs completed all 4 activities in the Goodwoof Games, with some incredible statistics:

  • Fastest 25 metre sprint: 2.2 seconds
  • Fastest hurdles time: 2.9 seconds
  • Longest jump: 2.9 metres
  • Highest scoring breeds: Spaniels, Labradors and Border Collies
  • Youngest dog to take part: 5-month-old Springer Spaniel, Ringo!

Over in the Action Sports Arena, professional dancer AJ Pritchard and his brother, Curtis got the party started as Goodwoof collaborated with the Ministry of Hound to produce the Ministry of Hound dancefloor spectacular. Dogs and their families moved to tunes chosen by DJs Fat Tony on the Saturday and Rio Fredrika on the Sunday.

Returning in 2024 was the Fastest Dog competition presented by DHL, where 656 dogs took part in the challenge of racing down the track across the weekend. That works out as roughly one dog per minute throughout the weekend!

For visitors seeking a quieter pace, Literary Corner was the place to unwind and listen to famous names reading from their books. Clare Balding entertained the large crowd as she shared extracts from her latest publication, ‘Isle of Dogs: A canine adventure through Britain.’  The line up also included Bill Bailey, Hugh Bonneville, Murray Lachlan Young, Anita Manghan, James Middleton and others.

The Wellness Stage, presented by MARS Petcare, offered a comprehensive range of demonstrations and talks across the weekend from experts such as dog behaviourist, Steve Mann who shared his knowledge on, ‘How to Talk Dog,’ Dr Bolu Eso’s advice on dental health and allergies and stem cell vet, Dr Stewart Halperin’s talk on dog mobility. The Studio, presented by Randox Health was the perfect spot for dogs and their owners to take a moment to truly unwind amid the exciting bustle of the showground as they enjoyed sessions in doga, reiki and blissful sound bathing.

Elsewhere, timetabled Breed Meets meant that birds of a feather could really flock together, the new Woodland Walk provided a shady spot for a quiet wander and a visit to pop into the crystal healer, the tarot reader or to get a temporary tattoo in the brand-new parlour. Goodwoof favourite, Snoopy and his trusty band of Woodstocks were in Beagle Scout mode giving children a chance to enjoy Peanuts activities. Hot dogs headed to Fido’s Lido to cool off and picknickers enjoyed their pre-booked delicious hampers from Fortnum & Mason on a rug in the sun.

Showcasing the most stylish hounds and their owners, Chien Charmant continued in 2024’s event. This concours d’elegance for all things canine, saw competitors judged to have the best bond, swagger of je ne sais quoi, by the judging panel including Dame Darcey Busell and Jodie Kidd, to pick up glamorous prizes from Hermes.

In honour of all that we love about dogs (which is everything!) Goodwoof partnered with MARS Petcare to seek out the nation’s best dog. Judging was by way of a people’s vote as the final three dogs and their heartwarming stories were presented. All of them could have been winners, but Storm, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who has turned the life around of his owner and even taken up a role as a Pets as Therapy and NHS Trust volunteer, was given the title to much appreciation from the watching crowd.

Teams of super fit contestants in the Cani-Cross, Cani-Bike and Cani-Scoot competitions were applauded at prizegiving late on the Sunday evening, as well as the winning handlers, both young and old from the sheep and gundog trials.

And, as the heat of the sun began to lose its grip, organisers were delighted to see visitors relaxing in the Taittinger Champagne Bar as well as having a final browse around the many retailers who displayed covetable items sure to delight any dog and its owner.

For those who couldn’t join the Goodwoof pack, Channel 4’s round up of all the action, airs on Saturday June 8th at 2.30pm.

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