Third of dogs are telly addicts, research shows

Afghan hounds Luca and Autumn on set of the filming of Wagg's dog parody of Dogglebox.
Afghan hounds Luca and Autumn on set of the filming of Wagg's dog parody of Dogglebox.

The average dog now watches more than nine hours of TV a week – and Crufts is their favourite show, according to new research.

Researchers looked at the extent to which television plays a part in the lives of our dogs – with a staggering 91 per cent of owners admitting their pet regularly sits on the sofa and watches TV with them.

A further 36 per cent would go as far as describing their pets as a “TV addict”.

And according to the study, carried out by pet-food manufacturer Wagg, whose headquarters are at Dalton, near Thirsk, the average British dog spends one hour and 20 minutes a day in front of their favourite TV shows and often barks along to popular theme tunes.

Twenty per cent of the nation’s dog owners say Crufts – the world’s largest dog show – is their pets’ favourite show, while 13 per cent said it was Britain’s Got Talent.

A further 11 percent said Emmerdale was top of the soaps, beating EastEnders and Coronation Street, while another 9 per cent said their canine pals loved The Simpsons.

And when it comes to the TV personality most likely to get tails wagging it was a three-way tie between Ant and Dec, David Attenborough and Paul O’Grady, with 30 per cent of dogs barking when they see their favourite celeb on screen.

Kirsty Allsop, Helen Skelton, Chris Packham and Piers Morgan emerged as the nation’s dogs least favourite stars.

Unsurprisingly football is our dog’s favourite sport (43 per cent), followed by horse racing (12 per cent), tennis (12 per cent) and greyhound racing (9 per cent).

When it comes to TV turn-offs, 5 per cent said the distinctive Doctor Who theme tune was the signal for their pets to take their leave, while another 4 per cent said Keeping Up with the Kardashians was their dog’s idea of viewing hell.

Border Terriers come top of the TV watching list, clocking up an average 12 hours a week, while Boxers watch 11 hours. Cocker Spaniels watch the least at just 8 hours.

Nearly one in four (24 per cent) owners say their dog enjoys sitting down and watching a good box set, with 15 per cent claiming Game of Thrones is their favourite, followed by 14 per cent who said their pooch enjoys zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead.

A further 71 per cent of owners say watching TV strengthens the bond between them and their pet.

The study was carried out by Thirsk-based Wagg, which commissioned the study to mark the launch of Dogglebox, a one-off spoof specially created for YouTube with a completely canine cast. The video sees pooches of all shapes and sizes parody the Channel 4 show Gogglebox.

Dan Reeves, marketing manager at Wagg, said: “At Wagg, we believe that dogs are integral to special relationships, particularly within the home. We know that TV brings people together but this research shows it also brings families and pets together.

“We launched Dogglebox to celebrate the special role that dogs play in family life and make dogs the stars of our own show.”

Clinical animal behaviourist Rosie Barclay added: “Dogs are social creatures and love being with humans. Watching TV snuggled up with their best friend in a relaxed environment is going to appeal to them.

“They may even gain pleasure from seeing the things they enjoy most being batted from one end of the screen to another or scuttling about in the undergrowth.

“They may also be positively stimulated by the sight and sounds of other dogs and people, and there may even be the chance of a tasty snack or two! As long as your dog is showing relaxed and happy behaviours and comes back for more, then all is good.

“However, if your dog is barking madly at the TV, tries to move away, is panting, shaking, licking its lips or showing the whites of its eyes then perhaps it’s time for some quiet time away from the screen and you should ask your vet to refer you to someone who can help your dog cope better with the things that humans enjoy.”

To watch Wagg’s Dogglebox go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRmBsNGWv88