Meet Berkeley the amazing Hampshire pooch who proves you can teach an old dog new tricks. The furry Newfoundland will tomorrow make his national television debut when he shows off his “pawfect” skills in Channel 4 show Superstar Dogs with his owner, philosophy lecturer and ethicist David Lamb.
The 11 stone pedigree performer, named after 18th century philosopher George Berkeley, has reached the final 30 of the TV series presented by John Barrowman and will compete in a number of challenges in a bid to make it to the ultimate dog show Crufts.
David said: “I’m very proud. It’s unbelievable how many things he can do seeing as he is a dog, but he’s a dog who likes having fun and getting lots of attention. You pull a camera out and he’s ready to pull out all the stops.”
There’s no doubting five-year-old Berkeley has a lot of tricks. He can negotiate a traditional cart in a three point turn by himself, rescue people from water and the kind-hearted pooch has even rescued a tiny screaming kitten by climbing up a tree to gently place the bundle of fluff in David’s hands.
But he does have a rebellious side. He loves dancing, makes a racket when he pounds his tambourine and bashes his paws and head on his keyboard and causes mayhem by getting on his skateboard and skating under David’s legs in his hometown of Eastleigh.
“All I can say is anything can happen, expect the unexpected – just a happy dog doing his thing. He can be a naughty boy and if he doesn’t want to do something, he just won’t do it”, laughed David, 72. The Channel 4 show sees dogs and their owners compete in a number of challenges including a penalty shoot out where dogs nudge balls into a goal.
“I read that 1,000 people applied for the show so it’s a privilege to get down to the final 30. The dogs certainly don’t behave like clockwork, they refuse to do things and play up but really enjoy themselves!
“Berkeley made the most of the star treatment and enjoyed the stay in the hotel the evening before and he even had his own dressing room. I got him a pair of dark glasses to add to the effect!”
But no matter what happens on TV, David, who worked as head of philosophy at University of Manchester and also lectures on animal welfare as well as sits on the Companion Animal Welfare Council board, which advises the government, said his love for Berkeley is unconditional.
“You have to take it as a bit of fun! I would do whatever is required for him and pull out all the stops regardless.”
David’s heat on Superstar Dogs: Countdown to Crufts airs tomorrow at 5.30pm on Channel 4.