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Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Lynley Dodd
Puffin Books
Age 0-5

First published in 1983, this is a well-loved picturebook now being shared with a second generation of children.

Hairy Maclary goes for a walk and in no time at all lots of other dogs join in until a very scary cat makes them turn tail and run home.

The infectious rhyme, rhythm and cumulative text make this story great to read aloud to even the youngest of children.

Watch an animation


Share the story

Read aloud
Read the story aloud to your child emphasising the rhythm, perhaps bouncing very young children on your knee a little as you read. You could read the second half of the book at a faster pace as the dogs hurry home.

Join in
Once your child becomes familiar with the story you could encourage them to join in with the list of dogs, and have fun saying their names together.

Talk about the book
Speculate about where all the dogs might be going
Talk about Scarface Claw and how the dogs react to him
Talk about your favourite dogs in the story
Talk about which one is the hairiest, biggest, smallest or spottiest

Things to make and do

Be a dog spotter
Talk about different dogs when you go for a walk and whether any remind you of Hairy Maclary and his friends.

Make a book
Make a zig zag book for your child and encourage them to draw one of the dogs from the story on each page. You could help with scribing the names.  

Play a describing game
Take turns playing ‘I’m thinking of a dog that is…..’ then describe the dog so your partner can guess which of the dogs in the story you are thinking about eg I’m thinking of a dog that is not very hairy, mainly white and very spotty? Which dog is it?’ Yes it’s Bottomley Potts, covered in spots!

Find out More

Read more books about Hairy Maclary and his friends and meet new characters such as Slinki Malinki. Here is the full set Hairy Maclary and Friends ( Many will be at your local library waiting to be discovered.

Find out about different breeds of dog Pocket Eyewitness Dogs | DK UK

Find out how to draw a sausage dog Rob Biddulph draws a sausage dog – CBBC – BBC

Read another book about dogs
100 Dogs by Michael Waite
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
Oh No George! by Chris Haughton