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March 27, 2007

Skidboot, 'World's Smartest Dog," dead at 14

Skidboot, considered as the world’s smartest dog, died Sunday at the age of 14.

Skidboot is world famous for his performances with owner David Hartwig of Quinlan. Recognized the “pet star of the world,” Skitboot has amazed thousands of people over the years with the his amazing talent to do “what he’s told to do.”

Skidboot has appeared locally at the Hunt County Fair and the State Fair of Texas, but he’s also made television appearances on the Oprah Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Inside Edition and The Animal Planet.

Skidboot’s most popular performance was the stuffed-ball trick. Hartwig would tell Skidboot, “Now, on the count of three I want you to go fetch that ball.” After Hartwig would throw the ball he’d count, “One, two, 11, 12, 13, 26...,” but Skidboot wouldn’t retrieve the ball until Hartwig said the number three.

The history behind Skidboot goes back to when he was just a pup. Hartwig, who was a horse shoer, was at a ranch and mentioned to the owner that he hadn’t bought his wife a Christmas present yet. So the owner gave him a puppy to take home.

When Hartwig started home, he got to thinking that that just wasn’t the right dog, so he took the puppy back and got another one. That’s the one that became Skidboot.

But Skidboot was uncontrollable at home and was tearing into things. Hartwig starting playing with the dog, teaching him to lie down. Every time Hartwig did something, Skidboot would imitate him.

Hartwig soon learned that he had a smart dog, and he made a video of Skidboot’s tricks and sent it off to “Pet Stars”, during it’s first season on the air. After winning the $25,000 prize, he went on to appear on the Oprah Show twice.

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