Dogs at Hampstead Heath

Dog heaven, am I right?

This past weekend, we walked for about 12 miles in and around Hampstead and particularly enjoyed Hampstead Heath.

Hampstead HeathI was, naturally, fixated on observing all of the dogs, who get to run around the gigantic park off leash. Hampstead Heath is like an enormous, boundary-less dog park, and the dogs all appeared to be in heaven. And per usual here in London, they were all behaving beautifully. I didn’t see a single fight or tussle. Many of the dogs ignored each other, and if they did stop to greet each other, it was very brief and polite.

HampsteadQuick phone photos of a small fraction of all of the dogs we saw:

Dogs at Hampstead HeathHampsteadHampsteadHampsteadHampsteadDogs at Hampstead Heath(*The only anxious dog I saw was a German shepherd puppy. Go figure. We asked to pet her, and she was a fluffy bundle of nerves, about 12 weeks old. She was crying because she couldn’t bite the wheels of a child’s tricycle. Her back hocks were horribly misshapen and she had no strength at all in her back end. I hate seeing that. I really do.)

Hampstead HeathMore than anything, this park made me wish our girls could have been raised in London. I daresay they would have been so much more well-adjusted in public, if they had had regular access to such immense and beautiful off-leash places. Definitely something to keep working on once we come home in August.

Visiting this park inspired me to visit more of the parks in our area back home. We don’t have an off-leash space quite to this degree of magnificence, but we do have some safe trails to practice recall. I am inspired!

Do you have an off-leash area near where you live?

5 thoughts on “Dogs at Hampstead Heath

  1. We have two – one in our hometown that is small, which wouldn’t be a problem if the owners kept better track/control of their dogs (we’ve seen several fights). The other is about 45 minutes away and is very spacious – it even has a pond! We wish we lived closer to it so we could go more regularly.

  2. I live in the UK and dogs are let off lead everywhere – fields, beaches, roadsides etc. Unfortunately most the dogs in our local area almost always have zero training, and are usually reactive, fearful or flat-out aggressive.

    It’s funny I read this post in the morning, and then this evening when walking our Border Terrier, 12 small dogs ran up to us from about 160ft away, and proceeded to circle us, bark at us, jump on us, and even bite our ankles. They were doing this for about 5 minutes total, and their owners first didn’t even try to get them away, and then actually couldn’t.

    This is not uncommon, and it is extremely rare we see a dog with even basic recall. I kinda wish we had strict lead laws here…I don’t have a problem with people who responsibly let their dogs off lead, but I’m so sick and tired of all the untrained and aggressive dogs we bump into!

    1. Very interesting feedback from a local! Thank you for your comment. That is disheartening that you see so many ill-behaved dogs. I must just be experiencing the well-adjusted ones and not seeing all of the reactive/aggressive dogs.

      1. I think area plays a huge part, too. We’ve lived up and down the UK, and some areas were notably better than others for well trained/friendly dogs. The last place we lived was a 15 minute drive from where we currently live, and the dogs were even worse there…we lived there 4 months then moved, and in that entire time we only met two sociable dogs and their owners would get very excited when they saw us with our pooches 😀

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