Yes, I know that I get praised for my ability to pick up out shooting, my loyalty and my ability with
children, but if I’m being honest, I think my greatest skill is breaking wind in polite company while retaining an expression of benign insouciance. It doesn’t sound much for a life’s work, but it takes years of practice. We’re steady stock. We’ve made good cavalry officers, land agents and the better sort of antique dealer. I wouldn’t be seen dead in the City if I can help it, but I’ve had relations who have been stockbrokers. I’m quite good at sniffing out drugs at my children’s teenage parties, and, although I like to keep fit, I’ve noticed the older generation running to fat rather easily. We’ve come a long way since we emigrated to this country from Newfoundland, broadening our horizons beyond the next frozen lake. We have been naturalised citizens since being recognised by the Kennel Club in 1916. I don’t mean to boast, but our soft, intelligent eyes, powerful jaws and wide noses have seen us rise to become the most popular breed in Britain.
Listens to Military bands
Drives A Volvo
Eats Steak-and-kidney pie
Reads Kipling, military obituaries
Lives Georgian Rectory, Woofingdonshire
Busy, busy, busy, that’s me. Some people say I’ve got a Napoleon complex, but I feel as big as a doberman. The other day, I attacked a Westie on a lead. I mean, leads are so common, and it was looking irritatingly neat and fluffy. That’s why I’ve got a bit of a chewed ear. But how can you rootle around in hedgerows and chase bunnies if you’re attached to a bit of string? I get touchy if someone makes fun of my habit of hopping around on three legs, but a quick, snarly snap usually brings them into line. I can dig for Britain: bones, foxes and rats are good excuses, but sometimes I just dig. I know I can go missing for a few hours, but I always come back. I love company too much and, although hunting and roaming are fun, I adore curling up on someone’s lap by the fire and dreaming of gaining on a tiring rabbit.
Listens to Snoop Dogg
Drives A Mini (slightly chewed interior with scattered biscuits, Coke cans, copies of the Racing Post and half-consumed carcases)
Eats Coq au vin (including the feathers)
Reads Bravo Two Zero, Watership Down, Clarissa Dickson Wright’s books
Lives Rural cottage
People are always asking me where I got this coat. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? I keep an eye on my weight, and have lots of mirrors round the place to remind myself how beautiful I am. I do have difficulty recalling where I’ve put things. The other day, I couldn’t find the car, but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t remember where I was meant to be going anyway. There’s nothing wrong with designer labels-I know this is the age of austerity, but they’re fine as long as they’re discreet. I’ve got all the gizmos: flat-screen televisions in every room, wi-fi, Blu-ray and an automated heating system. I haven’t got a clue how any of them work, but I keep the local tradesmen in business.
Listens to Abba
Drives A bright pink Suzuki Jeep
Eats Trifle and bacon
Reads Chick-lit on my iPad
Lives Can’t remember
Nothing I like more than a quick snifter at my club. Always good to catch up with everyone and tell them about the problems I’m having with my ‘masters’-I mean, as if they’re in charge! I’m not too keen on children and send the puglets away to school as soon as they’re weaned. I like to go round in pairs: old university chums, golf partners, people like that. Rather proud of my fine glossy coat, but my house staff go mad as I shed fur everywhere.
Listens to Frank Sinatra (favourite song-My Way)
Drives A Bentley-or the chauffeur does
Eats Wok-fried foie-gras
Reads Leather bound collected poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson
You have to admit that I’m pretty sensational-looking. Languid, aquiline, but, yes, prone to bad-hair days. I love lying full stretch in front of an open fire, but show me a hare and I’ll show you Mach 1. I’ve been going to Food Thieves Anonymous, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be totally cured. If someone leaves a joint of lamb on the table, it’s like dangling a cream pie in front of Billy Bunter, or telling Raffles where you keep your diamond necklace. I love a challenge. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve had quite a few girlfriends. Treat ’em mean and keep ’em keen-that’s my motto. I’m equally happy with dukes or poachers: they both have access to thousands of acres.
Listens to Eric Clapton
Drives A vintage Aston Martin
Eats Jugged hare
Reads Anything by Dick Francis, Flashman, Top Gear: The Official Annual
Lives Gypsy caravan in the Fens
I know that officially I’m a terrier, but, actually, I hate getting dirty. I always like to be immaculately turned out, particularly when chairing the parish-council meeting or running a stall at the WI. I don’t like to make a thing of it, but I do my bit for charity. You know, the Royal British Legion, Canine Partners, that sort of thing. I have problems with those yobbo Jack Russells off the local farm, but I just try and ignore them and not rise to the bait.
Listens to The Dashing White Sergeant and other Highland reels
Drives A Honda Civic
Eats Smoked chicken
Reads Council minutes
Lives Thatched country cottage with white sofas
I’ve been going to a shrink for quite a while now. I keep having these contradictory thoughts: one moment I want to pick up a pheasant, the next I want to be at the hairdressers. I know people think I’m a bit arriviste, not quite the real McCoy, but I just need to work out who I am. We don’t have a family crest, but who needs social props when you can retrieve a duck in a fast-flowing river and still keep your perm? I like my mod cons and, yes, we have a gym and sauna in a converted barn. We’re really into Green energy, and asked the whole village round for drinks when we moved in.
Listens to The Scissor Sisters
Drives A Toyota Prius
Eats Anything organic and free range
Reads Property brochures, self-improvement books, Descartes
Lives Quinlan Terry mansion
What I like best is a day on my own down in the woods. There, no one can complain about my bad breath and greasy hair. I know we go to pot a bit after a promising, gilded youth, but I can’t be doing with appearances and grooming when I’d rather be identifying wild flowers or bird calls.
I can make a fire without using matches, weave a basket out of willow and tell how long since a badger passed. These nature rambles take me far and wide, and I never know where I’m going to end up.
Listens to Elgar
Drives An ancient Subaru pick-up
Eats Ploughman’s sandwich
Reads The Dangerous Book for Boys and Collins Complete Guide to British Wildlife
Lives Estate Cottage
Some people think my name is very funny, and put emphasis on the first syllable in a rather ungallant way. Walking is highly overrated, if you ask me, and I’ve devised various disappearing techniques to use whenever outdoor activity looks likely. If I don’t want to do something, I won’t!
It’s difficult to be inconspicuous with my wheezing, snorting and snuffling-why were we given such small noses? But unless I’m hiding, I prefer to sleep by the Aga. My profuse beard and luxurious moustache create visibility problems. Only last week, I mistook a particularly hirsute cushion for a potential mate. I pick at food, but I do like licking things. That’s why our car has the cleanest wheels in the county.
Listens to Chopin’s Nocturnes
Drives Back-seat driver
Eats Gulls’ eggs, blinis
Reads Hello!, celebrity biographies and travel magazines
Lives The Manor House, Pimmshire
We take pride of place in the redheads’ section of anyone’s little black book. Our silky tresses are our unique selling point, so I make sure to maintain their glossy sheen. I’m happy to bound romantically across the heather in a sort of slow-motion, promotional-video kind of way, but I don’t really like getting too dirty or spending too long outside. Lying by the fire and looking desirable is more my style and, frankly, something I’m really rather good at. I like haute couture, hand-blocked wallpaper and monogrammed toiletries.
Listens to Girls Aloud
Drives A Volkswagen Beetle convertible
Eats Caesar salad
Reads Romantic fiction, Vogue
Lives Barn conversion, Kent
Additional Research by Laura Griffifths-Jones
I only want to please everyone. I know that I’m a bit excitable and can’t stop wagging my tail, but there are worse faults in the world, aren’t there? I never forget my name, mainly because someone is always yelling it, and not, I have to say, without some degree of impatience. But show me a thick bramble bush and I’ll show you a way through. The same goes for water. I love a good dip, but woe betide anyone standing too close when I emerge for a shake. I have to keep on the move. I don’t know why A. A. Milne didn’t make Tigger a spaniel. Don’t leave me for too long, because I get bored very easily. Industrial action such as shredding interiors of cars or chewing through a pair of wellington boots goes down very badly, but it’s worth the beating to gain company.
Listens to Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Drives A battered Land Rover Series 2
Eats Pot Noodles
Reads Three Men in a Boat, Wind in the Willows
Lives Duck Pond House, The Shires