Meet Memphis, the painting dog


For any four year old, the ability to create a piece of artwork is not a feat to be sniffed at.

But for Memphis, from Hyde, the talent has an extra barrier- he’s a dog.

The Leonberger uses an adapted brush- a regular paintbrush placed inside a gloss roller- to create abstract pieces of art.

His owner, Sarah Hatton, 37, now wants to show off her pet’s talent in exhibits to raise money for charity.

Memphis and his owner Sarah (L) with one of his finished pieces.

She decided to train Memphis, who can also perform CPR, to paint as he needed a special talent to complete the Expert part of his Trick Dog certificate.

She said: “I wanted to try something new; we’re always trying new things to see if we enjoy them.

“But it’s purely for fun, it’s not something we ever envisioned would take off but, seeing as though he enjoyed it so much, I wanted to try it again.

“He has a whale of a time; he just has this look in his eyes before we start and his tail is wagging. But during the painting Memphis is a very serious worker.”

Mrs Hatton is herself a dog trainer with Pendlebairn Pet Behaviour, so by 15 weeks Memphis was helping out around the house by pulling laundry out of the washing machine.

He then quickly, by the age of 10 months, achieved his Gold certificate in the Kennel Club Good Dog Citizen scheme.

And, as much of his training involved the ability to pick up and hold items, he was well adept to take up painting.

One of Memphis’ triptych pieces. (Credit: Sarah Hatton)

“We rewarded every stage, once he picked up the brush and when I put the brush in various places for him to pick up.

“We then added the paint and when he brushed it against the paper he got rewarded for it. Before you knew it, every time he walked into the kitchen he was looking for the easel.”

“I loved to teach and he loved to learn, so it was a nice fit.”

Each piece of artwork can take up to three weeks to complete, depending on whether Memphis is in the mood.

Mrs Hatton explained: “Some days he’ll come in and only do a few strokes and then put the brush down and walk out. I can tell if he’s up for it because he’s gearing up to get in the kitchen and do a bit.

“But sometimes when he’s lying on his bed he’s not up for doing some that day- which is fine.”

“I never tell him to do it, he uses his free will.”

Mrs Hatton has only sold a couple of Memphis’ paintings to close friends, but she says she’s looking to use her pooch’s talent to help others.

She said: “I would love it if we could get somewhere that would display them and sell them and then we could donate the money to charity.

“As for Memphis, he’s just happy with what he’s doing. But it’s always nice to give something back.”


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