Karen B. London
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Dogs Doing Shakespeare?
It’s quite captivating!

Since Shakespeare’s time, a variety of actors have performed his plays, but dogs were usually relegated to the minor roles. Now, thanks to a new production, they finally play more than bit parts.

Professional human actors provide the voices for canines playing the starring roles in scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest works, and the result is an entertaining DVD. Shakespaws is beautifully done from the camera work and lighting to the costumes and sets. Both human and canine actors capture the emotions of pivotal scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest works. Othello and Desdemona were particularly well cast in my opinion, making their scene truly great, and brave director Seamus Mulcahy used what looks like an entire litter of Golden Retriever puppies for Sonnet 18, giving that scene incredible appeal.

The original idea for Shakespaws grew out of Mulcahy’s experience as a dog sitter in New York City. So many of the people requested that he leave the television on when he left that he decided to create something that dogs and people alike could enjoy.

Besides being a fun treat for dog lovers, this DVD would be great in an educational setting. Any teacher who shows a clip from the DVD to introduce students to famous passages by Shakespeare is bound to get more interest than in any other way. My six-year old son watched it with me, and I’m thrilled with how immensely he enjoyed his first exposure to the works of Shakespeare.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Anonymous | September 16 2009 |

I agree entirely! I had the great pleasure of viewing the DVD.. It is pure excellence. My Stuart LOVED it.. and I was particularly enthrolled as a Shakespeare fan!

Submitted by Ryan A. | September 20 2009 |

It's so funny that you wrote about this. I gave this DVD to a friend for her birthday last month, she and her Lab loved it!

Submitted by chaddy | September 20 2009 |

Brilliant!! While this DVD is instantly captivating for pets (dogs and cats alike); it maintains the integrity of each Shakespeare classic with great attention to detail and dedication produced in every scene.

Submitted by Carolyn | September 19 2009 |

How much fun is THIS??? I found a film trailer on YouTube. Too too cute. Definitely gonna look for this film

Submitted by Nick | September 20 2009 |

Dear Karen,
This is such an interesting idea for both Dogs and those who love dogs. I leave my TV set for my dog, Kermit a 2 year old pug, whenever I leave the apartment and the idea of having him watch dogs perform Shakespeare is a riot!
What other scenes are there in the DVD?
PS: I've been following your blogs for months and have been a great fan in your writing.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 20 2009 |

two thumbs up!!

Submitted by Anonymous | September 20 2009 |

i loved this!! i don't know who loved it more, me or the dog. we watched it together and it was great!

Submitted by Gennaro | September 20 2009 |

Who wouldn't love this!

Submitted by Rosie | September 20 2009 |

I think this is just genius. I've been searching for something to leave my babies at home with.. YAY!

Submitted by HoldenC | September 20 2009 |

what a great gift! i want one for my mom for christmas. she'd love it for her pug.

Submitted by Robert Ousley | September 20 2009 |

Such a creative and clever way to spread the Bard, as you entertain the pups. Beautifully produced; I expect to see it at all the best pet stores. Two Barks Up.

Submitted by chaddy | September 20 2009 |

Brilliant! Not only is this DVD instantly captivating for pets (dogs and cats alike); it maintains the integrity of each Shakespeare classic with great attention to detail and dedication to every scene.

Submitted by Angela | September 21 2009 |

such a great idea, not to mention adorable!!!! my sister has already somehow worked this into her lesson plan (for 2nd graders).

Submitted by Kt from NH | September 21 2009 |

My Beagle Calvin suffers from separation anxiety, Shakespaws has been so helpful in keeping him entetained while I work on my to do list! Thanks!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Keith Herron | September 21 2009 |

It's awfully nice to see one's work appreciated - by animals of all kinds! One hopes that countless youngsters (human and canine) will discover great joy, passion, and humor in Shakespeare's wonderful poetry.

Submitted by Dublin The Boston | September 21 2009 |

My best friend leaves this on for me all the time. LOVE IT!!
My favorite part is Henry V and the Tennis Balls!

Submitted by mfrancher | September 21 2009 |

The movie reminded me of Wishbone that I used to watch on PBS with my boys when they were little. Very entertaining!

Submitted by Bridey | September 23 2009 |

LOVE IT! Watched it with my Corgie the other day. He actually sat on my lap and watched it with me. Can't wait for the sequel.

Submitted by Sir Brendan | September 24 2009 |

WOW! The approach of this entertaining DVD seems like no other. I already bought two copies for my parents and in-laws!

Submitted by Anonymous | September 25 2009 |

This movie should be in every Camp Bow Wow in the North America.
Great for any dog that loves Shakespeare.A Must

Submitted by Alaina | October 5 2009 |

Brutus Loves it! Each time he watches it as if for the first time - he is moved to tears and bouts of spinning for joy - he just can't get enough.
Can't wait for the next one!

Submitted by Ryan L | October 8 2009 |

I'm so glad that I found this DVD! Not only is it adorable, hilarious, and made with a much higher production value than I would have thought, but I just found a great gift idea for about 5 different people on my Christmas list! Anyone that loves dogs or Shakespeare (or both) will enjoy this DVD!

Submitted by marie | October 14 2009 |

I was looking for a holiday gift for my brittany .. What a great idea! Get my Christmas shopping done early! Thanks!

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