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STAR POOCHES: Barkin' or what?; Dogwatcher Dr Deborah psychs out the celebs and their four-legged friends.

Sara Cox

The self-confessed ladette likes a laugh and a drink or 10. Our Coxie clearly rates personality over looks - her best mate is a faithful Basset Hound, Snoop. `These are solid, good-natured, tolerant dogs,' says Psychologist Dr Deborah Wells, director of the Canine Behaviour Centre. `But they look comical and that's probably why Sara chose one.' You mean pig ugly? `Let's just say they're not aesthetically pleasing,' says Wells. `But they are quite rough and tumble. It's a dog for someone who's down to earth and not too bothered about appearance.'

Geri Halliwell

She may be unlucky in love, but Geri's rarely without her Shih-tzu Harry. `This is basically a lap dog,' says Dr Wells. `They're very sociable but can be quite demanding of attention and bark a lot.' Sound familiar? `However, that does mean they make good watch dogs. Clearly Geri wanted a dog she could love and, in theory, would love her back.' Ahhh... bless.

Amanda Holden

Les Dennis's missus has two Cairn Terriers who accompany her on shopping sprees. `Cairns are boisterous and can be quite demanding,' says Wells. `They're impulsive and a bit scatty so it's sometimes difficult to get their attention.' What was that phrase about pets being like their owners? `Amanda must be a lively person to choose these dogs as they're hyperactive when they're young. You need a lot of energy to take them on but, because they're small, they appeal to women in particular.'

Louise Redknapp

She says people are often surprised to see her with a big fat Bulldog rather than a little lap dog. But Louise loves her Winston and takes him everywhere - even to TV studios. `The Bulldog is very much like the Basset Hound,' says Wells. `It's quite an ugly dog, to be honest and, again, funny to look at. If looks don't bother you, they make ideal pets because they're good-natured and friendly. Someone who likes a tough, sturdy dog and is not just interested in appearance would pick this breed.' So what exactly does that say about Louise's footballer hubby Jamie, who gave her Winston as a surprise gift?

Britney Spears

A girl's girl who loves dressing up, it's not surprising Britney has a Yorkshire Terrier. `The Yorkie is a yappy lap dog you can carry around,' says Dr Wells. These similarities just keep coming... `They appeal to women especially as you can dress them up and put ribbons in their hair. People often choose small dogs to pick up and cuddle.' We bet Britney's canine best friend is a lot more loyal than the last hairy beast she picked up.

Natalie Imbruglia

They do say people often choose dogs that look like them, which is clearly the case with Natalie Imbruglia and her cutesy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. `These are very attractive dogs,' explains Dr Wells. `And they keep that cute, puppy dog face for their entire lives. They have round button eyes and an appealing infantile look.' Say no more.

George Michael

George has two Labradors, called Hippy and Mo, and he loves them both to bits. `The Labrador is very popular because it has a good temperament and is very lovable, undemanding and affectionate,' explains Dr Wells. `George probably gets a lot of love from them. It's also a good idea to have two - they can keep each other company when he's away working.'

Robbie Williams

He likes to portray himself as the hard man - tattoos and often up for a fight - so it's fitting he should have a Rottweiler. `People buy them as a status symbol,' says Wells. `Clearly Robbie likes the image but it's best not to let a Rottweiler on your sofa or bed. You need to make yourself leader of the pack.' But what happens to Rob's four-footed mate, Missy, when he's off in LA? His poor old mum, Jan, gets lumbered. `Any dogs develop behaviour problems if left with too many different people,' says Wells. Robbie, you have been warned.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 16, 2002
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