A LAKE District town has picked up a prestigious national award for its dedication to dogs and its canine friendly attitude.

Keswick received the most nominations from the public in the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs Awards, and took the lead to be crowned top dog in the Dog Friendly Town category.

The competition – now in its sixth year – is based solely on the views of the public and aims to break down barriers for man’s best friend by encouraging more places to be dog friendly.

Nominations have come in from all over the country for the most welcoming dog friendly businesses, towns, and public places.

With over 28,000 canine-canny towns and businesses listed on the Open for Dogs website, powered by Dog Friendly, competition was fierce.

Thousands of nominations flooded in from dog lovers giving their paw of approval for the places that treat their dogs like royalty, or simply offer them a drink of water when they need it. Keswick stood out as being particularly dog-centric however.

Linda Furniss, Tourism Officer for Keswick Tourism Association, said: “We are thrilled to win the Dog Friendly Town category in the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs Awards 2012. Keswick is just such a perfect base to explore the fells, woodland and lakeside walks, with masses of open space to get out for long walks with your dog.”

Alison True, a Keswick resident who owns and runs Low Nest Farm B&B, added: “You only need take a walk up the main street to know that Keswick is dog friendly, not only by the number of dogs you see but by the number of ‘dogs welcome’ signs you see in the shops, pubs and cafés.

“As a dog owner living in Keswick I appreciate the welcome my dogs receive. Where else in Britain could you walk your dog through the woods into town to run your errands at the post office and bank, then call at the pub for lunch before taking a taxi home?”

Congratulating the town on its fabulously dog friendly attitude, Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Keswick is a great example of the many towns that have already adopted a wonderfully dog-friendly atmosphere and are reaping the benefits of being open for dogs.

“The people of Keswick show that they are willing to go above and beyond for their own four legged friends, as well as those that are just visiting, which is consistent with the UK’s love affair with dogs.”

With over 8 million dogs in the UK, and around one in four households owning a dog, the great British public are always on the look-out for places where their four-legged family members are also welcome, and the Open for Dogs Awards recognise businesses and places to visit that go that extra mile for our canine comrades.

This comes in handy, particularly of late, as research recently released by the Kennel Club has found that the British love affair with dogs is still going strong. So strong in fact, that Brits are now choosing to own dogs over having children. Two in five across the UK say that owning a dog is a happy alternative to having children, and, whilst their children always come first, a quarter prefer going out with their dog to their children – making a dog friendly attitude the perfect way for businesses across the country to draw in more trade and cater to a demographic that they may have overlooked.

The winners of the Open for Dogs Awards will be presented with their awards at the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event at Earls Court, London on 10th-11th November.

More information on the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs campaign can be found at www.openfordogs.org.uk.