Meet the Walks Around Britain Dogs - Walks Around Britain

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Meet our Dogs

The Walks Around Britain Dogs are as much of a part of the team as our humans - and an ever-increasing number of our walks on the television series feature them during - especially during the forthcoming seasons five and six.  In fact, they have their own Twitter account, which you'd be barking mad not to follow...


So, just who are the Walks Around Britain Dogs then?

Merlin

Merlin is our eldest dog - at nine- and is a Blue Merle Border Collie.  "Merle" refers to the pattern in a dog's coat, which is caused by a gene only present in certain dogs.  So just like human parents with different eye colours, breading two dogs together - one with the Merle gene - can produce Merle pups.


And that's what happened with the litter our Merlin was in - hence his distinctive white and blue markings on his coat.  He is still a true Border Collie - with all the nutty-ness that entails.  Merlin has been on more walks with Andrew on the TV series than any of the other dogs, and has developed such an understanding of the film-making process that he gets himself back to his mark faster than Andrew does...!  When he's not walking on telly, Merlin competes in Flyball along with Mysti.

Mac
Our second-oldest is Mac, who's seven and is probably the cleverest of all our dogs - as well as the most classical-looking Border Collie of our pack.  Mac's always been a bit of a handful - probably because he's so intelligent - and early on in his life wasn't happy at all having other dogs come near to him and was prone to nasty outbursts.  Then, on one Monday evening in October 2017, Mac came running in from the garden and collapsed in the living room, started foaming at the mouth with his legs spasming.  Around 10 minutes later, he came back around, and after a trip to the emergency vets, a diagnosis of Epilepsy was suggested.  Several vet visits and two more seizures later, Epilepsy was confirmed.


Mac has been on medication twice a day since November 2017, and - touch wood - hasn't had another seizure since.  Living with an epileptic dog is a challenge - but Andrew has put a lot of time in getting to understand Mac better, and the two of them have a real strong bond.

Mac and Andrew now do Mantrailing together as a team, and having a focus has helped Mac's temper - we still have to be careful in crowded situations with other dogs, but he's a hundred times better and happier now.

Mysti


Mysti is the middle one of the pack - at the age of six.  She's from the same breeder as Mac, but she's got some New Zealand lineage in her - and that coupled with the fact she's a girl, is why she's slightly smaller than some of the others.


Mysti fortunately doesn't share Mac's epilepsy, but she does suffer from a condition called Border Collie Collapse, which is an episodic nervous system disorder triggered by strenuous exercise.  We noticed a few years that after 10-15 minutes of high energy exercise, Mysti looked like she was drunk - and then one day when it was quite warm she collapsed, and Andrew had to carry her back to the car.  Now, as she competes in Flyball and also does Agility, we have to be careful to regulate both her exercise and temperature, and we use special cooling coats as well as keeping her hydradated.

Mysti is a definite princess, enjoying creature comforts at home... although on a walk, at the first sight of any dirty, stinky area of water she's right in there!  She's a big herder - and on the daily walk she herds Mac up as he's running for his ball.

Mocha

When you've had four dogs, going back to three just doesn't seem right... so after a respectful amount of time after Maisie, Andrew and his family decided to have another.  Having got two traditional black and white Border Collies and a blue merle, they decided to look for a brown tri-colour - and they found a litter with some tri-colours in Gainsborough.


Mocha joined the Walks Around Britain pack at the start of April 2018 at 9 weeks old and his gorgeous face and cheeky manner earned him a special place in the hearts of Andrew's wife Mandie and Olivia.

He and Olivia are a team competing in agility - and in 2019 they came third in a competition.  2020 promised to be a successful year for them both - but then all events were cancelled due to Covid.  They continued to train the best they could throughout last year, and are hopeful for a great year in 2021.

Mocha filmed his first walks for the TV series last year, and they will be available to watch in the coming months.

Magic

There was a huge rise in the numbers of people wanting puppies during the various lockdowns in 2020 - but our lockdown-delivered puppy was ordered before the first lockdown.  Given Olivia's passion for agility and the success she's already had with Mocha, Mandie wanted to bring in a puppy from a recognised line of agility champions... and that meant the family going through rigorous checks to make sure they were right for the puppy - and placing a order, so to speak, well in advance.


So... welcome Magic to the Walks Around Britain pack.  She arrived in September 2020 at 9 weeks old and has already made a huge impact in the White house!

Magic is a lot smaller than the other dogs, and is the family's first short-haired border collie.  Training her for even the basics has proven a challenge during lockdown, with puppy classes cancelled and social distancing rules making learning how to behave around new people really difficult.  But her drive and desire to work is clear to see, and Olivia has already made a great start to introducing Magic to agility.  

We're counting down the days until she can feature in the TV series!

Maisie

Maisie was our eldest until she left us in October 2017, aged 15.  She was Andrew's first dog having owned her from being a puppy - as his wife-to-be already had two Border Collies when they met.  Maisie was definitely Andrew's dog, and ruled the roost amongst the dogs in the house.  In her later years, she become quite deaf and so she stayed on the lead on walks in new places, as she couldn't hear the recall shouts!


In 2017, she started to collapse whilst out walking, and it was suspected she had a brain tumour - although Andrew didn't put her through conclusive tests because of her age.  With tablets, she enjoyed her 15th birthday at the start of October, but she had deteriorated so much soon after the family took the heart-breaking decision to let her go on the 26th October 2017.

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