Clare Balding: ‘I genuinely believed my pet dog was my mum’


Clare Balding spent her childhood surrounded by dogs (Picture: Channel 5)

Clare Balding has confessed she was convinced her pet dog was her mum although, of course, she was barking up the wrong tree.

The BBC Sports presenter, 52, believed fur real that she was also a pooch as she spent significant time with her family’s pets as a child.

It’s perhaps no surprise Clare believed her family origins were entirely paw-sible, growing up surrounded by animal lovers as the daughter of world-renowned horse trainer Ian Balding and his wife Emma Hastings-Bass.

Reflecting on her paw-some upbringing, she explained: ‘I did think I was a dog really because I was left with the dogs quite a lot I think. I may even have genuinely believed that Candy, who was my mother’s boxer, was actually my mother.’

The Channel 4 star continued to the Wine Times podcast: ‘There’s a really sweet picture of me as a baby lying next to Candy and my mother always said and I do think this is quite profound, “If you think a boxer has a beautiful face, the world will always be a beautiful place.”

Clare has even been able to channel her love of dogs into her illustrious broadcasting career, having been a long-time presenter of the TV coverage of Crufts.

She is the longtime presenter of dog competition Crufts’ TV coverage (Picture: RMV/REX/Shutterstock)
Clare has also written about dogs – and hosted a podcast all about them (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)

She also hosts Channel 5’s Lost Dog, Found Dog, in which she helps pet owners track down their missing canines.

Last month, Clare even released the dog history book Isle of Dogs: A canine adventure through Britain and previously wrote autobiography My Animals and Other Family in 2012.

Over in the podcasting world, Clare hosted – yep, you guessed it- a show called Dogcast in 2020 about the many ways’ dogs transform our lives.

Clare’s beloved dog Archie died at the age of 15 (Picture: Getty / Instagram)

That same year, a devastated Clare revealed her beloved Tibetan terrier – who she shared with wife Alice Arnold, died aged 15.

Late this summer, Clare wrote in the Daily Mail she and Alice were still on the hunt to find another pet dog, noting: ‘There is no quick and easy fix to finding the perfect dog, but maybe that’s as it should be.

‘We shouldn’t be able to click a button and have a dog arrive by post to fill a hole in our lives. We should have to think about it, work at it and be properly prepared.

‘There are so many ways that dogs offer us their service but more important is to offer them ours.’

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