July 6, 2023
Barely a weekend goes by in the UK without some sort of pet or dog-related event taking place (particularly in the summer!). These can be fantastic events to attend, whether you’re looking for new business opportunities, want to meet like-minded people, or simply you fancy a doggy day out. But which ones are the best to visit in your area?
In this guide, we’ve picked out some of the best dog and pet trade shows in the second half of 2023 across the UK. Whether you’re interested in food, products, activities or just dog culture in general, there’s bound to be a pet industry trade show for you to explore.
If there could ever be such a thing as a dog version of Glastonbury, then this is probably it! Paws in the Park are huge outdoor festivals that bring all sorts of canine activities together over an entire weekend. The first event of 2023 at Ardingly in West Sussex has already passed, but the autumn version is still to come, hosted at Detling in Kent in the middle of September.
There really is something for everyone at Paws in the Park: agility events, water sports, trade stands, shows and exhibitions, and plenty of food and drink options for owners and dogs alike. Book in advance and you can even camp there over the weekend and turn it into a short, fun-packed, dog-friendly holiday.
Similar to Paws in the Park, Dogfest is a national tour that takes a variety of dog activities and exhibits to people all over the country every summer. There are three Dogfest dates still to look forward to in 2023, at Ashton Court in Bristol, Knebworth House in Hertfordshire and Harewood House in Yorkshire.
It’s a very active event to visit, with sport demonstrations, advice and workshops, and plenty of activities that your own dog can take part in. There’s also some fantastic food and drink to enjoy (for both human and canine consumption), and you’ll also get the chance to explore a beautiful stately home at the same time.
Dog beauty and wellbeing has become big business in recent years, whether it’s thanks to keen owners who want their pets to look their best, or competition dog owners preparing their pooches for contests like Crufts. Either way, there are lots of businesses and treatments to explore, and Edition Dog Live – run by one of the UK’s leading dog magazines – is the place to check them all out.
This year’s event is on 27th August at the NAEC in Coventry, so the combination of a central location and a Bank Holiday weekend makes it easy for everyone to access. You’ll see a range of exhibitors across wellbeing, nutrition and holistic care in particular, so this should definitely be one in the diary for everyone who takes dog care seriously.
Working dogs have very different demands to pets in terms of training, care and ownership, and so owners often need specialist products and advice to keep their dogs in tip-top condition. The best place to get those tips and insights is the Game Fair, and this year’s edition is at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire over the last weekend of July.
There is a wide selection of trade stands and retailers devoted to gundog equipment, specialist dog food, and other areas like health and wellbeing, and transportation. But the event isn’t the sole preserve of the working dog owner: in previous years, there have been dog photographers and portrait artists exhibiting too, so it may be worth a trip to see some of their examples.
If you’re in the north of England or in Scotland, and some of the events listed above look a little far from your reach, then don’t worry: the North East Dog Festival in September has you covered.
It takes place at Kirkley Hall near Newcastle on the first weekend of September and is packed with things to do for both dogs and owners. Some of them are activities you’ll be used to such as exhibition, trade stands and dog agility trials, but there’s also plenty that you might not have seen before, such as scentventure, gundog scurries and dog parkour.
And if you’re worried that some of the activities might be a bit too ‘expert’ for your dog, then fear not: there are plenty of chances to ‘Try Your Paw’ at skills like flyball.
This might not sound like the most exciting or dog-friendly event in the world – after all, what kind of dog enjoys a trip to the vet? But if you run a dog business that’s involved with health and wellbeing, then this could well be worth a visit to Excel in London on 16th and 17th November.
You’ll get to hear from some expert speakers who’ll give you a real insight into the present and future of animal health. But there are also a huge range of exhibitors with innovative products that are breaking into the market, or that will be making their own mark in the months and years ahead. Whether you want to find products to sell, or want to get your own concepts to a wider, engaged audience, this isn’t an event for you to miss.
This is a good show for people who live in the countryside, or love to take their dogs there. This show at NAEC Coventry on 10th-11st September isn’t just a dog show: it’s aimed at the wider pet, equestrian and countryside industries, too.
There are countless retailers and exhibitors showing off the latest products and techniques, and it’s an excellent place to meet people with similar interests. This is an especially good show to visit if you’re running a dog-related business and want to get your products out to a wider audience.
This is another fantastic tour of fun dog festivals that tours the country during the summer, and there’s one more still to come in 2023, at the Norfolk Showground over August Bank Holiday weekend.
This is one of the best events to go to if you want to get your dog to try lots of different activities: lure racing, dock diving, fastest recall and flyball are all available to sample. You’ll also get to see some displays from some superb dog teams, and there are also four show rings and nearly 50 classes that are open for you to enter. As well as a range of exhibitors, there will also be expert advice on offer from certified animal behaviourists and more.
If you don’t have the time to make it to any of the above events still to come this year, then there are plenty of excellent dog and pet events to enjoy in 2024, too.
Crufts has already confirmed its return to the NEC in Birmingham for 7th-10th March next year, and needs no introduction for anyone who loves their dogs. The Kennel Club’s showpiece event has been running since 1891 and now attracts more than 18,000 competing dogs each year. Outside of the contests, there are also demonstrations by emergency service and medical detection dogs, and the chance to see virtually every breed of dog that the Kennel Club recognises.
Down in Devon at Powderham Castle, Woofstock is a dog festival by day and music festival in the evening, making it a perfect weekend getaway for dogs and owners alike. The 2024 edition is on 14th-16th June and tickets are already on sale. And at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex perhaps better known for the Festival of Speed, Goodwoof features competitions, workshops, talks and free interactive activities in a beautiful setting. Next year’s event will take place in May, with the exact date being confirmed soon.
Whatever your interest in visiting pet trade shows later in 2023, it’s likely that you’ll be attending in a business capacity. And however you want to grow your business and increase your profitability, you need to do so in the confidence that you’re insulated against any financial shocks beyond your control. The best way to do that is to make sure you have the best-quality insurance cover in place for your specific enterprise.
Protectivity has years of experience insuring entrepreneurs like yours across a range of different canine businesses, including insurance for dog walking, dog grooming insurance, pet sitting insurance and much more. That way, if you’re subject to a compensation claim, or an accident or injury occurs to you, a customer or a dog, you won’t end up out of pocket. Depending on the policy, we may also be able to insure your equipment, and cover you for Care, Custody and Control.
Take a couple of minutes today to explore our full range of pet business insurance policies and find one that’s right for you.