Ashleigh and Pudsey inspire new generation of talented dogs

Ashleigh and Pudsey
Ashleigh and Pudsey

Britain’s dogs are becoming more talented thanks to the ‘Pudsey effect’, according to a survey by the Kennel Club.

Almost one-third of dog owners said the success of the Britain’s Got Talent winner had encouraged them to develop their own pet’s abilities.

Over half said they spent up to five hours a week training their dog’s skills such as tackling obstacles, dancing to music and even riding a surfboard or skateboard.

The survey, which was commissioned by the Kennel Club to launch its annual Crufts Factor competition, revealed that the most popular skills taught to pets were basic obedience (81 per cent), fetching items such as newspapers and slippers around the house (34 per cent) and tackling obstacles and agility (15 per cent).

Following Wellingborough duo Ashleigh and Pudsey’s triumph on the ITV1 talent show, a third of owners admitted to wanting their dog to pursue a showbiz career if it was talented enough.

Now the Kennel Club’s Crufts Factor competition is looking for the next generation of talented dogs to perform in front of a live audience at Crufts 2013 on Sunday, March 10. It will be judged by Mark Foster, Olympic swimmer and Strictly Come Dancing contestant and Lucy Heath, winner of ITV’s show, That Dog’s Got Talent.

Whether it is singing, dancing, skateboarding or agility tricks, the public is being asked to upload a short video of their dog’s special talent via the Crufts Facebook page www.facebook.com/crufts.

Members of the public can then vote on their favourite entry. Two dog acts will be chosen from the ten videos with the most votes to perform in the Crufts Factor final during Crufts 2013. One wild card finalist will also be picked from all entries.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary, said: “The Crufts Factor is all about celebrating the extraordinary talents of ordinary dogs, and what better place to do that than on the world’s most famous dog stage. It is great to see the so called ‘Pudsey effect’ motivating people to teach their dogs tricks and take part in dog sports and leisure activities. It is a perfect way for dog and owner to bond and have fun in the process.”

Mark Foster, who will be judging the Crufts Factor final, said: “It always amazes me how close the relationship between humans and dogs is and how skillful dogs can be. I can’t wait to judge the Crufts Factor and maybe gain some inspiration for what my dog, Em, could be taught to do.”

The research also revealed that the dance routine that the UK public would most like to see Ashleigh and Pudsey recreate is Singing in the Rain (33 per cent), followed by Dirty Dancing, I’ve Had The Time Of My Life (23 per cent) and the dance scene from Pulp Fiction (17 per cent).

Also in the survey, Paul O’Grady’s Cairn Terrier, Olga was named as the UK’s favourite celebrity dog, with Pudsey second and Blue Peter’s Barney third.