Hawthorne Canal Reserve

Canal Rd Leichhardt NSW 2040

Nearby Parks

More Information

For additional information please visit the Leichhardt Municipal Council website.

Note: While Doggo aims to provide the most up-to-date information, councils and/or park authorities may change their regulations regarding dog exercise areas at any time. We suggest checking with the relevant park management for the latest information.

Last Updated: December 31, 2008 - Does this listing need updating? Let us know

12 Comments

  1. Carly
    Carly
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    As much as I love the idea of a lovely dog-focused Cafe in the middle of a dog park – this is just disappointing in various ways.

    Firstly, be careful if this is your first time there. Although the park is not fenced off, its an off-leash park. Most dogs here are left off their leash while owners enjoy a cuppa, and usually forget to keep an eye on their dog. Its quite overwhelming – not neccessarily for a person, as most dogs are very well behaved, but rather for a little puppy like mine who had his first outting there and had nothing but a wide selection of fully grown dogs trying to “get busy” with him. Not welcome.

    Also, there is a canal that runs right along side the park (hence the name). Many dogs have fallen in because they are over-exicted or just not paying attention. The canal is shallow, but not very nice to have to go running around in to fish out your dog. Be wary.

    Finally, just be ready for some crazy dog-types who are very opinionated and very eccentric. These are good people, but are very ready to share their opinions – we got told off for having our dog on a leash – it was his first time out since his last vaccination, and he is a Rottweiler. We were just being careful and responsible and were very openly criticised by a lady who said the dog should be off leash to socialise. She didn’t know us – but was quite angry at us.

    Needless to say, lovely novelty but not going back – i’ll just get a take-away coffee next time and go to a less crowded, less pretentious dog park.

    Too bad too, great idea.

    FYI if you choose to go – no eftpos facilities, take cash. They sell “Doggychino’s” and dog biscuits… puppy loved it.

    Reply
    1. Kaye Greenleaf
      Kaye Greenleaf
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      We’ve been going there daily for a year with our poodle, & have never seen anything like Carly went through. The people are generally friendly, interesting and helpful, and the dogs love being there. The coffees are good too, and sitting at a table with our (dog park) friends in the late afternoon is a great Inner West experience!

      Reply
    2. Jay Moore
      Jay Moore
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      If you go to a leash off park with a Puppy and are not prepared to stay close and fend of bigger dogs, you must be unfamiliar with dog behaviour! hope you have learnt from your experience Carly, Dogs are not human, plus NEVER let your dog onto the ground where other dogs frequent till the dog is fully immunised!

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  2. Christine
    Christine
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    I can agree with some parts of Carly’s experience. As locals, my husband and I had been there a number of times to assist with socialiseing our dog – a smallish, gentle geriatric (10 years old and 6kg!). We always had him on a lead except for possibly 2 occasions when visiting, more so for his safety, as he was adopted by us 2 years ago and it appeared he had very little socialisation. Just too much to worry about though. We have never been confronted about having him on a lead however we did tend to stay away from the cafe area as it is just manic. A mix of people, some who feel that as their dogs have graduated from puppy preschool they don’t require any further training in manners or obedience. I was amazed at the number of owners who carried on walking throughout the park, totally unaware of their dogs behaviour – ie pooing and leaving their mess behind. We had one very scary incident with a malamute pup that would not back off and resulted in an argument between us and its owner – needless to say we have not been back and won’t be with our second geriatric four legged family member. This park is not for the faint hearted. We prefer the quieter streets and parks for their twilight years for any exchanges and have a walking circuit of local dogs that we say hello to each evening.

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  3. Alex Fletcher
    Alex Fletcher
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    I have been a local to Hawthorne Canal Reserve for 6 months and take my dog to the park at least twice daily. She LOVES it! Of course there have been a few incidents with dogs that are a little too exuberant, around the cafe when food is involved BUT this will happen any place that groups of dogs are playing together. There have not been any major run ins that werent able to be sorted with a calm, casual conversation between the owners. All the people I have met have loved animals and had respect and understanding of dogs natural behaviours. I can imagine that there are exceptions to this experience BUT dont give up on the park or its people. It is a gem!

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  4. Anthony
    Anthony
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    I’ve been going to this dog park with my partner and my CKCS every Sunday for the past two year! I’ve meet a lot of good people there, and have become friends with a lot of them! There is some odd people there I just ignore them, I give the park & cafe there a 8/10 my doggie love it too!!!

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  5. Ian
    Ian
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    Our Sunday morning trip to cafe bones in the highlight our our dogs’ week. It’s brilliant, and a unique experience. There’s a cafe… leash free… in the middle of the park. You sit there, drinking your coffee, eating your cake, and dogs of all sizes are just roaming around. Many of them try to ‘work the room’ on the off chance something accidentally falls on the ground, but for a place where so many dogs gather pretty much unsupervised, they are remarkably well behaved.

    I should mention… the coffee at Cafe Bones is great, the pupuccinos are eagerly hoovered down, and the human and canine food is worthy of an inexpensive suburban cafe.

    Yes… the canal isn’t fenced off (though the park is well separated from the road), and yes, on rare occasions our dogs dive in… too bad… that’s what dogs do. However, it’s a big open space with plenty of room to run, chase balls and roll around.

    Our only reservation is that in winter, there’s an oval next door and about one Sunday in four, they play junior rugby league there so parking is difficult. For the rest of the time, it’s a breeze.

    Overall, we give Hawthorne Reserve 9/10.

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  6. Jay Moore
    Jay Moore
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    Oh, forgot to say … My 2.2 kilo Toy Poodle has a wonderful time there, I occasionally have to rescue her, but nothing to serious, it’s a excellent park and we both enjoy out times there!

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  7. Lauren Holder
    Lauren Holder
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    My dog loves this park, there is nowhere else for miles where he can be off lead in such a lovely large area. I agree with all the comments, it can be pretty full on. Sadly however this park is about to shrink by about 50%, since a walkway to the light rail is going through the middle of it and the first half will be lost to dogs (or will now be on lead). To my amazement, the location of the path, right in the middle of the off-lead area, is the result of lobbying by café Bones. The dog obedience club and members who train there wanted it at the northern end of the park just past the café, and this was agreeable to Leichhardt Council. I don’t know why the café wanted to ruin the park for the people and dogs who are, after all, its only customers. I would have thought it would be better for business if the path went beside the café. I am boycotting the café now. Their coffee was never good, but it is a wonderful idea to have a café there. I will be very keen to see dog-friendly, people-friendly people running it when the present management’s lease expires. That will be something to lobby for.

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  8. Sonia
    Sonia
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    I’ve only just come back to Sydney. It’s my hometown and have been up north for about 4 years. I’ve returned with a very active cheeky rambunctious hound that’s needs to run. This morning was my first visit to canal road and I loved it. More importantly, so did my Mia the 8 month old Humgarian Vizsla. I saw her born and went through a hostage negotiation type deal to get her. Anyone that wants a doggie date email me.

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  9. Ann Lau
    Ann Lau
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    I lost my watch yesterday (5/10/13) at Hawthorne Canal Reserve whilst walking my dog and trying to cheer up a friend. If anyone has found a silver and gold watch I would be most grateful if you could call me on 0421 163 316.

    Reply
  10. Britney
    Britney
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    My sister and i took our 75kg Blue Great Dane there today and it was a good experience. A very nice park with friendly people and dogs. If anyone has any large dogs it would be nice to organise a meeting at the park so my dog has a friend to play with who is his own size. He looks a bit like an uncomfortable giant with all of the little dogs.

    Reply

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