The quirky new Harrogate café where customers can cuddle chihuahuas
Last updated May 3, 2022
Customers will be able to cuddle these adorable long-haired chihuahuas.

A quirky café where you can grab a slice of cake and cuddle a chihuahua is set to open in Harrogate this month.

Billed as ‘England’s first interactive chihuahua experience’, The Chihuahua Lounge is aimed at boosting mental health with pet assisted therapy.

The venue, on Knaresborough Road, is expected to open on weekends from Saturday, May 14.

Customers will be able to book a 50-minute session at the café, on Knaresborough Road, and chill out with a coffee in the company of six cute long-haired chihuahuas.

Picnic and her puppies Badger, Lambie, Potter, Peony and Lucy, all bred and raised by café founder Caroline Leather, will roam free within the building.

Ms Leather said she wanted to share the benefits that she gains from her own affectionate pack of chihuahuas.

She explained that this is how the concept of a ‘home-from-home interactive chihuahua experience’ with lounge seating, coffee, cakes and cuddles was born.

Ms Leather said:

“The Chihuahua Lounge is a friendly, safe haven, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

“We are passionate about animal assisted therapy, which has shown that spending time with dogs not only reduces your heart rate and blood pressure, but is good for mental health.

“We offer an extensive menu of hot and cold drinks, freshly baked cakes and have cosy sofas, arm chairs and foot stools, so you can kick off your shoes and curl up for a cuddle.”

The experience costs £10 per person. This contributes towards the cost of the specific qualifications needed to exhibit the animals, as well as the strict animal welfare and licensing laws.

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For the safety of the dogs, only children over the age of six are permitted.

Ms Leather said:

“Our dogs love human attention and we have made sure that the café is a home-from-home for them.

“They also have their own private room where they are free to wander in and out as they please.

“We do not force our dogs to be in the lounge area with our guests. When the dogs are in the lounge space, they are there out of choice, and we intend to always keep it that way.

Ms Leather explained that the dogs also have weekly health checks and  behavioural studies are conducted on each animal regularly to ensure their behaviour in the café demonstrates that of a happy and relaxed dog.

She added:

“If it does not, we take them out of the café environment.

“We have a set of house rules to protect the dogs welfare that have to be adhered to by all customers.

“We also limit the capacity of our café to ensure the dogs are not overcrowded.”

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