Five minutes with Countryfile presenter Adam Henson

The ‘Countryfile’ presenter and farmer tells us about his life in farming, and his love of dogs.

Q) Tell us about your first dog?

“In 1974, my Christmas present was a beautiful eight-week-old liver and white Springer Spaniel, who I called Nita. Nita was my first dog and we bonded instantly; she was a wonderful friend and companion.”

Q) Tell us about your current dogs?

“I have Border Collies Pearl, aged 15 (now retired from farming work), and Peg, aged 10, Hungarian Wirehaired Vizslas Boo, aged seven, and Olive, two, and a Miniature Wirehaired Dachshund, Minnie, who is six months old.”

Q) Who has been/is the greatest canine love of your life?

“Fenn, my first Border Collie, was a gorgeous dog who was a dream to train and worked beautifully for me.”

Q) What is the biggest issue facing dog owners today?

“There is a huge amount of marketing around dog food brands, some of which do not offer the correct, balanced diet a dog requires. Dog owners should look to avoid additives and colourings, as they can seriously affect a dog’s behaviour and well-being.”

Q) If you were a dog, which breed would you be?

“I would be a Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla as they suit my hair colour, they love exercise, and are often kept as pets in the house, enjoying lots of love and attention — perfect.”

Q) What do you enjoy most about being a dog owner?

“To see a dog at work, using his brain, his sense of smell, and his agility, is a delight. However, the companionship and loyalty I get from always having a dog by my side are what I enjoy the most. I would never want to be without one.”

Q) Where did your love of dogs begin?

“I grew up on a farm, surrounded by farm dogs, and, from an early age, had dogs of my own. They have been a big part of my life, whether welcoming me back from school or college, working with me in the fields, or as family pets sharing our home.”

Q) What is the best advice you’ve ever received about owning a dog?

“Dick Roper, my good friend and renowned competitor in sheepdog trials, always told me to be clear and consistent in the commands and the boundaries that you set a dog. This was really sound advice.”

Q) Dogs allowed in the bed: yes or no?

“When I was a child, there were strict rules that dogs were not allowed on the furniture, and they were definitely not allowed upstairs. This rule still applies today in our household, although there was one dog who was allowed to break the rules, and that was Nita, who used to share my bed whenever I was home from school.”

Q) Where is your favourite place for a dog-friendly holiday?

“A friend of ours has a small house on the south coast of Devon with wonderful coastal walks, and it is always a joy to be able to take the dogs on the beach to charge around in the surf.”

Q) Which dog-related product can you not live without?

“It is very important a dog has his own space — somewhere warm and dry to sleep. My Border Collies live outside, and I have found a fantastic make of kennel called Timberbuild. Our family dogs sleep in the kitchen and love their Tuffies dog beds.”

Q) Name your favourite dog-related film or TV show?

“101 Dalmatians’ is a brilliant film, and our claim to fame is that one of our Gloucestershire old spot pigs starred in it, sitting on Cruella De Vil when she was searching for the Dalmatian puppies in the farmyard.”

Adam Henson first appeared on BBC One’s ‘Countryfile’ in 2001, giving an inside view of farming during his segment, ‘Adam’s farm’. He has also co-presented ‘Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen’, alongside celebrity chef Nigel Slater, and ‘BBC Lambing Live’, alongside Kate Humble. Adam writes for Countryfile magazine, and has been featured on Radio 4’s ‘On Your Farm’ and ‘Farming Today’.