Everything you need to know about…the Dulux dog

Since first appearing in a Dulux TV advert in 1961, the Old English Sheepdog has become one of the UK’s best-loved pet breeds. 
The very first Dulux dog was rather grandly called Shepton Daphnis Horsa (or Dash, as he was affectionately known). It all came about by accident really. The story goes that Dash kept running across the set to play with the child actors and proved so adorable and eye-catching that the ad team decided to keep him in.  

He actually belonged to the advertising director who was responsible for that 1961 campaign. Now, more than 60 years later, the Dulux dog is as popular as ever.  

The second and most famous Dulux dog was Fernville Lord Digby. He took the starring role in the 1973 movie Digby the Biggest Dog in the World – when he had six stunt doubles for the action sequences! He also had special coats made to keep his fur in perfect condition on set. 

All our Dulux dogs (apart from Dash) have been breed champions, with five of them proudly taking home Best in Show prizes. In fact, Old English Sheepdogs have become synonymous with Dulux, with the term “Dulux dog” being a common nickname for the breed.

They take some looking after though. Each dog spends around four hours in hair and make-up before a big shoot. Not so much of the make-up perhaps, but with an Old English Sheepdog, a hairdryer and hairbrush are essential. Oh, and all Dulux dogs have their own chauffeur. 

There have been 14 since 1961, in case you were wondering. And it’s a much-coveted role. When Dash retired, 450 Old English Sheepdogs auditioned to take his place. The current Dulux dog is called Madison, who had a special skateboard made for a recent TV advert. No stunt doubles were required. 

In 2020, there was a bit of a scare when the Old English Sheepdog moved to the UK’s Vulnerable Native Breeds list. But following a significant upsurge in registrations, it’s no longer at risk. And we’re actively doing our bit to ensure it stays that way. We’re the main supporter of the Old English Sheepdog Rescue and Welfare charity, which cares for and promotes the breed throughout the UK. 

And finally, current Dulux dog Madison is due to retire soon in favor of her daughter, Olivia, who will take on more of the appearances. 

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