Our story

It all started with Leo, a kind-hearted Rottweiler who helped our Founder, Barry Karacostas, transform his life after a difficult time. As Leo dragged Barry outside for daily walks, Barry did what we all love to do; he stopped for a natter with fellow dog lovers.

Barry The Dog JoggerBubbles

Then Barry had a brainwave: he started running with a pack of dogs all through London’s parks. Both he and the dogs got fitter and happier. Barry found that meditative flow, that comes from combining exercise with canine company and the great outdoors.

Soon, Barry had collected a pack of Urban Mutts, including some Celebrity Dog Clients. He’s discreet to the last, but Dora (who shares a pad with David Gandy), along with Bella and Moon (ditto Elle Macpherson ), don’t mind us dropping their names. So it was that The Dog Jogger business was born.

Yet Barry knew he could do more. He’s passionate about understanding dogs – their psychology and what it takes to optimize their mental and physical wellbeing. So, he decided to found a hotel and day care club that’s built from the ground up, with the simple mission of making city dogs happier and healthy – so that they can make their busy urban owners feel the same way.

Urban Mutts Dog Club & Hotel is run by Barry, his wife Julie and his business partner, Greg. Along with their new Managing Dog Directors, Bubbles the Rottweiler and Bruce the Labrador - of course.

At around the same time as all this, Gregory Hands was living with his late wife, Georgina, opposite Battersea Park. Like Barry, Gregory had always been mad about dogs. Sensing a growing demand among his fellow urbanites, he decided to become a dog sitter. Together, he and Georgina devoted much of their time to learning about dog behaviour, while training their own fox red Labrador, Bruce.

As an entrepreneur by heart and by trade, an idea slowly began to dawn on Gregory: He started to imagine a  new type of place that would make canine wellbeing top dog. It would be big, it would be bold; it would be totally different from anything else. Along with Georgina, he pictured a Dog Club and Hotel for the urban canine community.

Then Gregory met Barry and Bruce met Bubbles. Here, the adventure really began.

Having specialised in Entrepreneurship and gained a BA Honours degree in International Business from EBS London, Gregory poured his knowledge, vision and financial expertise into making this brand new concept possible.

In 2020, Urban Mutts – the UK’s first Dog Club & Hotel – was born. Today, Bubbles and Bruce are Managing Dog Directors. Barry and Gregory try very hard to be excellent Assistants.

These are their promises to you and your best friend:

We are fully regulated. In fact, we go above and way beyond industry standards to set a new bar in canine expertise and professionalism by training our Pack Leaders in the method that we’ve spent years honing.

We’re 100% transparent – both literally and metaphorically. Our viewing platform means that from the Reception to the Grooming and Therapy Rooms, the Social Club and Sleep Huts, you can always see us proudly taking the best possible care of your dog.

Every single dog is important to us. Their health and happiness are always paramount. Our heating, cooling, air filtration and ventilation systems are bespoke-built to the highest standard. Our visiting vets will also ensure your dog is in tip-top condition. We never leave dogs unsupervised or in cramp conditions.

Owners are important to us too. Joining the Club means becoming part of our community. We're always on-hand for some advice – from seeking your first dog to the best possible food, training and socialisation methods – or simply to admire your latest dog snaps.

We let dogs be dogs. So, you won’t find us painting their nails bright purple. But you will find us encouraging their natural instincts by running alongside them in a muddy park and helping them make friends for life. We promise to get them squeaky clean when you’re ready for them back home.

We welcome them as part of our own family. In the knowledge that they’re a beloved part of yours too.

Want in?

Join the club