Q. What in the world is a dog café?
A. It is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a coffee shop where you drink coffee and play with puppies at the same time. Fantastic right?!
This was one of the first places I visited when I first came to Korea. My friend and I both have dogs back at home but it had been about a week since we had seen our precious pooches. We were really missing them so we decided that a little time at the puppy café might be exactly what we needed.
The Puppy Dog Café is located in the heart of Sinchon. It hosts an upstairs café for all of their smaller dogs and puppies while the downstairs area is for all their bigger dogs. There are plenty of dog cafes all over Seoul but this one was the closest to where I live.
The puppy café is located on the second floor so, as we walked up the stairs, we could hear the little yips and barks of the puppers. As soon as we got up the stairs and entered the café, we were greeted by the barista. There technically is no entry fee to get into the café but you have to buy a drink. Now, since this is a puppy café, the drinks are roughly 2~3 times more expensive than a regular coffee shop. But you get to play for the puppies for (I think) up to 2 hours.
I quickly scanned the menu of drinks and picked the cheapest one, which was about 8,000 won. Then, you get to enter into the actual seating area where all the puppies are!
Rules & Policies
I think it is important to mention that all the dogs here are well taken care of. I am a big animal lover and I would never support any company like this that isn’t looking out for the well-being of its animals. All the dogs were clean, groomed, and looked perfectly content. If any of the dogs were tired or didn’t want to socialize, they would just go off a little ways and take a nap. If any of the dogs had a little accident, one of the workers in the café (whose job it was to look after the customer interaction with the dogs- not the barista!) would come and clean it up right away. Before entering the café, my friend and I were given a laminated piece of paper with a whole set of rules on how to interact with the dogs, including what you could and what you couldn’t do. They even wrote on the paper that these dogs were like their children and that they wouldn’t tolerate any misconduct towards their babies. So no worries here fellow animal lovers!
There are plenty of little fur balls to play with. There were about 10 of them, all different breeds. There were dogs that loved getting attention from people, those that liked to roughhouse with one another, and even one that kept bringing me a toy so I could throw it for him.
One of the ladies that worked there gave us some treats to give to the dogs and the dogs went crazy. I was literally swarmed by these dogs that act like they haven’t been fed in weeks (no worries- I promise they all looked fed and healthy).
Even Smaller Dogs
Inside the café where all the small dogs are, there is another small, gated area where there are even smaller dogs. In here there were maybe another 5 or 6 dogs. I couldn’t tell if these were very young puppies or just extra small dogs but they were adorable! I’m pretty sure they were approx. 98% fluff.
This little guy fell asleep on me while I was petting him!
I love small dogs, I even have a little one back at home in the states, but my friend likes big dogs. So we went downstairs to the second part of the dog café. There is no extra charge for this; once you buy your drink/ticket upstairs, it allows you entry to both the big and small dog parts of the café.
Downstairs, it is a large open, space, similar to that of the one upstairs, but there are like 7 medium to large sized dogs running around. An elderly gentleman was there looking after these dogs. My friend went right into roughhousing with the lab.
All the dogs were moving around so quickly that most of my photos ended up being very blurry.
I just sat on a chair at one of the tables when all of a sudden I see this little Boston Terrier who comes running up to me. He then proceeds to jump in my lap and make himself at home. It took all my self-control to not take this little guy back home with me.
Overall, I loved coming to this café. The atmosphere was wonderful, the people were nice, the dogs were great, and the drink was actually pretty good too. After a busy and taxing first week of being in a new country, this was a great way to distress and have some fun.
Student & Traveler Tips
I would recommend that you go to the café during the day, possibly even during the week. I know these places are quite popular and the less people there are, the better the puppy to person ratio is.
Definitely wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind if they were chewed on or even ripped. That’s a worst case scenario but the little dogs were jumping all over me and a couple were even chewing on my friend’s dress! The bigger dogs can jump on you as well. Nothing to be scared of, but I can easily see how one of the dogs can accidentally snag an article of clothing. On the rule sheet that you get when you enter the café, they even state that they are not responsible for any damages to your clothing. But thankfully I didn’t have any problems with this!
Also, wear pants! Learn from my mistake as I had worn shorts (it was a hot day) to the café. These little guys jump all over you and I ended up with a thousand little scratches on my legs. The café does provide small blankets so you can cover your legs if you are wearing a skirt or shorts but I’m not sure that helped me too much.