Motor mutts wanted for Top Gear (+video)

Monty the dog learns how to drive. Photo / Supplied
Monty the dog learns how to drive. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand's world famous driving dogs could be set to star in the popular motoring show Top Gear.

Last night Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross and Monty, a giant schnauzer cross, got behind the wheel and drove a Mini Countryman down a racetrack in Avondale live on TV3's Campbell Live.

The stunt was part of a campaign by the Auckland SPCA to show rescued dogs are just as intelligent as any other pet.

The doggy duo and a third canine, Ginnie, a one-year-old beardie whippet cross, underwent an eight week driving course with animal trainers Animals on Q.

The driving dogs have made headlines around the world, from the BBC to the New York Daily News. The story has also been picked up by David Letterman's Late Show, featuring in the show's Top 10 segment.

Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin said the international interest in the story was unprecedented.

"We've had an email from Top Gear who are showing interest in the story as well," Kalin said.

"The phone's been going hot and one of the pleasant surprises of this whole campaign was just how international it went. It certainly surpassed anything we thought was possible."

She said the SPCA had Channel Nine on site filming today.

"There was a bit of a fight from the Australian channels as to who would get it and obviously they would have liked to have been there last night but we gave New Zealanders that honour of seeing the dogs drive live so they're here this morning."

If the dogs do feature on the British show Top Gear, it will likely please co-host James May.

In 2007, May suggested in a column for the Daily Telegraph that dogs should be taught how to drive.

"Dogs bark at cars, chase cars, urinate on cars, like being in cars and like sticking their heads out of car windows. It's only natural that dogs should want to learn to drive cars," he wrote.

For information on how to adopt animals visit the Auckland SPCA website here or the New Zealand SPCA here.

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