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British Family

The best dog bed in the world – and it's British made!

27 July 2015 18:45


Every so often a product comes along that threatens to change the status quo in a particular marketplace.

As a nation of dog owners (1 in 4 UK homes own at least one) the all too regular trips to buy Fido a replacement dog bed have become part and parcel of family life contributing to a market worth around £40m annually in the UK alone.

Slowly though, dog owners are becoming more quality conscious rather than price focused, seeking well-made, durable and attractive products, even if these do come with higher price points. As in many markets, customers are demanding new product qualities in terms of design, construction, craftsmanship, practicality, health benefits, environmental impact and, above all, long term value for money.

At the forefront of this change is Berkeley Dog Beds – a Hampshire-based company that produces a range of dog beds that are arguably the best in the world.

'Having owned working Labrador gundogs for over 30 years gives us a unique perspective' says Martin Starbuck, owner of the company with his wife, Gail. 'We must have bought and tried virtually every dog bed available and we became increasingly frustrated at never being able to find a range of dog beds that ticked all the boxes on our list of requirements. We are very much on a mission to make smelly, damp, shapeless, flimsy dog beds a thing of the past.'

'Yes, we wanted our beds to look great but the key issues for us were comfort, practicality and longevity. There is absolutely no reason why a properly constructed dog bed shouldn't last for your dog's lifetime.

One day we sat down and thought that it might be a good idea to design our own product range …something special and completely new to the market.

In the course of our research it became apparent that although mattress technology for humans had progressed significantly – particularly in terms of joint care, most dog bed design was still stuck in the dark ages. Most dog beds are made of cheap imported polyester fibre or foam covered in an outer fabric more suitable for dress or curtain making than dog beds – components that are simply just not fit for purpose.

The challenge for us was to incorporate modern mattress technology but tailor make it so that it would stand up to the practical testing carried out by our own dogs – this meant easily removable washable covers, waterproof scratch and chew resistant material choice and a substantial, well insulated, breathable construction that would retain it's shape and provide the all important even weight distribution, cushioning and joint support so critical particularly in larger and / or older dogs.

The finished product is a 6” thick mattress comprising a central mat of individual pocket springs sandwiched between 4 layers of wool-based felt and a final layer of lambswool which is encased in a cotton drill cover. A PVC-backed polyester removable waterproof cover completes the mattress and provides a tough, durable yet stylish protection to the mattress.

Once we had a suitable design we had four final criteria to fulfil -To support British manufacturing and cut down on sea miles we adopted a 'Buy British' sourcing policy for our company.
Constructing a product that is built to last with a high percentage of natural ingredients including wool and cotton cuts down on landfill and is more environmentally friendly - even the steel in our pocket springs is recycled.

To complement our waterproof orthopaedic mattress we expanded our product range to include a lightweight raised dog bed, an oak framed bed to be used in conjunction with the mattress, a full range of fabric covers to slip over the mattress and a small selection of really useful and / or labour saving accessories.

Finally, we wanted to illustrate our faith and confidence in our product so we supported our claims with a 5 year guarantee – something that is virtually unique in the UK dog bed world.'

Challenges? 'Of course!' adds Martin 'Whenever any innovative product is introduced there is always some deep – rooted resistance. Our dog bed mattress is at least three times heavier than even our closest competitors and also slightly firmer. We designed it that way. Dogs love our beds and have no issue adapting but their owners, accustomed to buying inferior products, do sometimes struggle!

Also, we spend a lot of time explaining that our higher initial price point works out substantially cheaper in the long run when compared to having to replace a cheaper product many times over. Given that an average dog spends upwards of 75% of his time sleeping – the investment in a quality supportive dog bed can actually prevent, reduce or delay the onset of musculoskeletal complaints and could actually save a fortune in vet's bills by helping to keep your dog active and healthy.' Ends

For further details please feel free to contact:-

Martin Starbuck
Berkeley Dog Beds Limited
Winchester Lodge
Hampshire SP11 7JR

T. 01264 861143


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About British Family

We are the Bradshaw family, well known advocates of buying British. As seen on national TV, radio & in the press.

We are the Bradshaw’s from Kent. A normal British family in every way except that we have, inadvertently, become a leading consumer voice supporting British manufacturing and farming. Our regular appearances on the TV and in the press, documenting our own personal struggles to buy British, we hope, have inspired others to also support their local and domestic producers.

Since we took the unusual challenge of trying to survive on only British made goods back in January 2013 we have seen a wealth of food & drink, clothing & consumables and gadgets & gizmos all made in Britain. We have found that manufacturing in the UK isn’t dead – in fact quite the opposite. We are still a creative, talented and entrepreneurial nation… and that fact needs recognising.

Our message is about celebrating Britain’s hardworking, but often overlooked, manufactures and farmers and the great things they make. In our blog you will find interviews, reviews, videos, recipes and practical guides on the best that Britain has to offer.

We are the organisers of The British Family Fayre, run The Britipedia directory of British made goods and administrate the most widely used logo for British made goods.

Our message: Buy British and support UK manufacturing!

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