At the Blue Book we are passionate dog lovers. Between us we have three Border Terriers, one Border x Cairn and one Dachshund. We can therefore fully understand why such an obsession remains a key detail in country life. One of the many pleasures of our job is to meet so many interesting people and become emersed in how they live and how their lives take shape. We are however, not only lucky to meet the owners of the house but also a wonderful broad spectrum of canines in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
So where did it all begin? Interestingly, Britain was the first country in the world to start a welfare charity for animals in the 1830’s. It would appear that home life in the 19th- and 20th-century was when pets (namely dogs) became a prominent part of family life.
We do of course know that humans have interacted and engaged with animals for thousands of years but keeping pets didn’t become socially acceptable in Britain until around the 18th Century. Up to this point pets were often seen as an elite extravagance, and small dogs frequently appeared in satirical prints of aristocratic ladies, symbolising frivolity, and indulgence. By the early 19th century there were fewer of these kinds of images, and we began to see paintings and illustrations portray pets as an acceptable part of domestic life.
Nowadays, the family dog is a key part for those looking to embark on that well-trodden path from London to the country. Inevitably, a dog proof garden is high on the wish list but walks without too many roads are also important. To really tick the boxes, a good-sized open plan kitchen with an AGA for the canines (and humans!) to cosy up to in the winter months is often well received. We mustn’t underestimate the practical requirements of our four-legged friends either. A sizeable boot room is a must for dog owners, and it is not unusual to see inside or outside dog showers (with hot water).
We are often asked by sellers whether any of their dog’s paraphernalia should be removed prior to viewings. From experience, buyers may not want the furry friends bounding up to them but some indication of dogs living happily at the house can go a long way. After all, it is a combination of two great British love affairs; dogs and country houses…