Dog Activities in Marlborough


Last Modified: 8-8-2022 21:09

A miniature American shepherd in the Taylor River Reserve
A miniature American shepherd in the Taylor River Reserve
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

History of Dogs in Marlborough

Dogs are a popular companion and working animal throughout New Zealand, and Marlborough is no exception. The first dogs to be introduced to what is now Marlborough were Polynesian kurī, identified by DNA at the Wairau Bar, arriving at the same time as the first humans to settle the region.

A Poultry and Dog Association was established in 1887, with the first show held on the 5th of October 1887. The association made a proposal for sheep dog trials in 1897, and news reports indicate that they were occurring by 1902.

A Marlborough Shepherd’s Dog Association was in existence by 1895, and a Marlborough Collie Dog Association is recorded as holding trials at Meadowbank Station in 1899.

The Marlborough Kennel Club was established in 1907.

Dog registration was required as early as 1877, with a registration fee of ten shillings, and a fine of between one and five pounds for failing to do so.

In 1880, the Dog Registration Act was passed, coming into effect from 1 January 1881, with responsibility for administration falling to a variety of local authorities. Dissatisfaction with the cost of registration, which was initially set at ten shillings throughout New Zealand, let to an amendment to the act in 1881 giving power to local authorities to set a lower registration rate for working dogs.

In Marlborough, this involved in administering dog registration included the Pelorus Road Board, Spring Creek Road Board, Picton Road Board, Omaka Road Board, Wairau Road Board, Havelock Board of Works, Awatere Road Board, Blenheim Borough Council.

Since 1989, dog registration has been administered by the Marlborough District Council.

Marlborough Dog Demographics

As of 2022, Marlborough had 10,902 registered dogs, with approximately 60 percent of those pure bred, with the remainder cross breeds.

With a ratio of just over one dog to five people, dogs play a significant role in the life of Marlborough citizens.

Approximately 15% of the total were represented collectively by Huntaway, Heading, and Border Collies, popular working breeds, which is not entirely unexpected given the rural nature of Marlborough. The most popular small breed of dog was the Jack Russell Terrier, accounting for 3% of Marlborough’s registered dog population.

Marlborough’s Top 10 Dog Breeds in 2022

  1. Huntaway

  2. Labrador retriever

  3. Heading dog

  4. Border collie

  5. Jack Russell terrier

  6. Fox terrier

  7. Smooth collie

  8. Staffordshire bull terrier

  9. Miniature snauzer

  10. Golden retriever

Dog Clubs in Marlborough

Marlborough has two dog clubs; Marlborough Kennel Association for registered breeds, and the Blenheim Canine Training Club which is open to all dogs including crossbreeds with a focus on obedience and agility.

Sheep dog trials are held throughout the region for working dogs.

An informal dog meetup group organised through Facebook meets on Saturday Afternoons at Sheps Park in Blenheim.

Dog Exercise Areas in Marlborough

Marlborough has a number of dog exercise areas throughout the region, both on council administered land, and Department of Conservation land.

Marlborough District Council Dog Exercise Areas

Off Leash Areas

  • Auckland Street Reserve, Picton

  • Blairich Reserve, Awatere Valley

  • Flemings Road Esplanade Reserve, Awatere

  • Harling Park, Blenheim (except Japanese garden)

  • Lions Reserve, Fairhall

  • Memorial Park, Picton

  • Renwick Dog Park

  • Sheps Park, Blenheim

  • Simonsen Reserve, Riverlands

  • Sutherland Stream Reserve, Blenheim

  • Taylor River Reserve, Blenheim (except for section from Henry Street to Sinclair Street which is on-leash only)

  • Tirimoana Reserve, Anakiwa

  • Tirohanga Track, Picton

  • Essons Valley Tracks, Picton (but prohibited off the tracks)

  • Wairau River from confluence with Waihopai River to confluence with the Ōpaoa

  • Waitohi Domain, Picton

On Leash Areas

  • Alfred Stream Reserve, Rai Valley

  • Blenheim CBD

  • Brown River Reserve, Rai Valley

  • Double Bay Reserve

  • Grovetown Lagoon

  • Havelock Quay Picnic Area

  • Kotuku Trail,Riverlands

  • Marlborough Equestrian Park, Spring Creek

  • Mills Street Reserve, Seddon

  • Moetapu Bay Reserve

  • Picton CBD

  • Pollard Park, Blenheim (except Baden Powell Corner, playground,toilets and barbeque areas)

  • Taylor Dam, Blenheim

  • Ward Beach

  • Ward Domain

  • Wairau Valley Golf Course

  • Wairau Valley Loop Track

  • Wairau Recreation Ground, Wairau Valley

  • Waterlea Racecourse, Blenheim

Department of Conservation Dog permitted areas (with valid permit)

On conservation land where dogs are permitted a permit is required, which can be obtained by calling DOC. Note that dogs are not allowed in DOC huts or lodges.

  • Archer Track, Tennyson Inlet

  • Aussie Bay Campsite

  • Butchers Flat Campsite

  • Cullen Point tracks

  • D’Urville Island (DOC land only)

  • Ferny Gair Conservation Area (Dog access only from Black Birch Stream, and must be on a leash while crossing private land to enter reserve.)

  • Kaikōura Coast DOC reserves

  • Keneperu Head Campsite

  • Leatham Conservation Area

  • Moawhitu Campsite

  • Moetapu Bay Campsite

  • Mount Richmond Forest Park

  • Mount Stokes Track

  • Nikau Cove Campsite

  • Nydia Track

  • Pelorus Track

  • Picnic Bay Campsite

  • Pukaka Track

  • Rarangi Beach

  • Queen Charlotte Track from Anakiwa to Umungata/Davies Bay.

  • Robin Hood Bay Campsite

  • Whatamango Bay Campsite

Private Dog Friendly locations in Marlborough

Note: This is an incomplete list. If you are a private establishment, or know of one that is dog friendly, please feel free to contact Marlborough Online, or register and add a comment below this article.

  • Smiths Farm Holiday Park, Linkwater

  • Ritual Cafe, Blenheim

Web Links

Cite this page

Cookson, C. (2022). Dog Activities in Marlborough. Retrieved April, 24, 2024, from

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