The Third Leader: Hound of music

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The Independent Online

How pleasing to report that dogs in an RSPCA rescue home in Somerset enjoy classical music. This will confirm dog lovers in their firm belief in the sensitive intelligence suggested by the soulful expression adopted by their charges at nearly all times. Others might assume that the dog is a creature whose tastes do not extend much beyond the satisfaction of basic functions; but these are not people who have observed the keen discernment with which a dog will choose between various enticing aromas, ankles and articles of foodstuff inadvertently left unattended. Nor can they have watched Lassie.

It would probably be as well, too, at this early stage, to dispose of suggestions that they might especially enjoy the Bachs and, indeed, Offenbach; to regret that the author of the Ring cycle is pronounced with a "v"; and to wish that Puccini might be spelt differently. Good. Now we can move on to the serious research which discovered that a sample of 50 dogs much preferred classical composers to Britney Spears and Metallica, although, apparently, they were not played the Strokes.

Against this, there is the evidence from Hocking, Ohio, where Mr Jim Snider's Norwegian Elkhound, Oslo, particularly enjoys "Geek Stink Breath" by Green Day; there are, too, several American CDs for dogs featuring middle of the road music.

Middle of the road, though, is not a good place for dogs to be at. We rely on the classical findings, and suggest a pilgrimage to the rear car park of Lloyds TSB in Kingston-upon-Thames, under which lies buried Nipper, the famous HMV dog pictured listening to a phonograph. At the time, people doubted Nipper's musical appreciation: he has now been triumphantly vindicated.

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