If you’re a sports fan, you’ll know Anna Woolhouse. A regular on Sky Sports, she’s previously fronted shows about Formula 1, ice hockey, rugby and more.
Most recently, and quite fortuitously, given just how many historical fights have taken place over the last year or so, she moved into the world of boxing as the broadcaster’s lead presenter in the sport.
At home in London, her miniature Dachshund, Mr Chip keeps her busy. K9 Magazine’s Kim O’Meara caught up with the TV star at home to find out more.
Hi Anna! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. I know everyone was smitten with Mr Chip at our photoshoot so we can't wait to hear more about him.
Hi! He’s fast asleep on my lap at the moment.
(Laughs) Yes, it was a lot of fun. I don’t know who enjoyed it more, me or Chip. He was so good, I think he just knew what to do instinctively when the camera was on him.
First things first, does he prefer Chip or Mr Chip?
(Laughs) It depends really. A lot of the time he’s Mr Chip, but he’s just Chip – short for Chipolata because he’s a sausage dog.
How old is he?
He’s just coming up to five months now.
When I got him I said ‘right, Mr Chip is not going on the bed’ and you know what, he rules the roost, he’s on the bed.
What made you choose a miniature Dachshund?
Well, I’ve always liked them and then I did a shoot with Sky Bet several months before I got him and one of the guys had one called Deacon, and I just fell in love with him. He was just so beautiful.
I’ve had a Border Terrier before. He’s now at home with my mum and dad, so I always thought when I got a dog I’d get a Border Terrier like Barnaby but I ended up falling in love with the breed and found a local breeder in Norfolk back home, I went and had a look and the rest is history.
He’s the perfect dog for London living and where I am in my life right now.
His size must make travelling around the city pretty easy?
Definitely. Although we’ve not tried the underground yet, he’ll get in a cab and he’s not fazed.
I was talking to a lady just down the road this morning who has two Dachshunds and I am always inquisitive about how far people walk them because some people have told me you don’t have to walk them that far, but Chip’s quite happy to walk as far as he wants to.
How long have you lived in London?
About 10 years now.
How has city living changed now that you have Chip?
Honestly, I can’t imagine not having Chip now. I think in London if you go for a walk on your own, no one will say ‘hello’ to you, but if you go to the park with your dog people will stop and talk because you’ll find yourself asking questions about their dog, they ask about yours and the dogs play together.
Today, for example, I met a Lady who asked me ‘Is this Mr Chip?’ because she’d seen him on Instagram.
My life’s better for having him in it, 100%.
And you have the best of both worlds balancing city life with countryside in Norfolk back home?
Oh my days, Chip absolutely loves Norfolk's beautiful, big expansive beaches.
They haven’t been spoilt by arcades or anything like that. They're really beautiful.
Mr Chip aside, it’s been a pretty exciting year for you because at the start of this year you moved into boxing, didn’t you?
Have you always liked boxing?
I have and I’ve always gone to boxing classes hitting the pads. I’d been to some of Anthony Joshua’s fights before but I now live and breathe it.
You get hooked on it. It’s a sport that’s one of its kind.
I’m a bit of a boxing fan, even if it’s just for the twitter drama alone. It’s been quite a year for British boxing, hasn’t it?
It definitely has, hasn’t it. Have you watched a lot of them?
I have. But I have to admit that my worst fight of the year, in that I didn’t want anyone to lose or get hurt, was Ricky Burns v Anthony Crolla.
Oh my god, the two nicest men in boxing. Genuinely lovely men in and out of the ring.
We still have some good fights coming up at the end of this year. Which are you most excited about?
Well, everyone’s intrigued by the Tony Bellew v David Haye rematch.
Tony obviously went into the first match as an underdog and completely shocked the boxing world when he won.
It was an epic fight, but there are questions of what’s next. Will David be fully fit [since this interview was conducted the fight has been postponed until next year due to a Haye injury]. A fully fit David is a dangerous man but Tony obviously wants to do the business again.
And it’s just been announced that Katie Taylor is defending her WBA female lightweight title at York Hall on the same weekend, so it will be a great couple of days.
It’s definitely an exciting time for the sport. I saw Tony Bellew talking on Twitter with former heavyweight champ, Tyson Fury about money and how it’s not the be all and end all to happiness. Do you think retirement is on the horizon?
Tony’s a massive family man, he really is. There are some people in life who say one thing and do another. Tony’s not one of those. Everything he says, he does and everything he does, he does for his family so I think he’ll see how he goes on the 17th against David and make a decision from there.
He’s been a pundit on Sky’s boxing team on and off outside of the ring in between fights and he’s really good.
He is, isn’t he. I think because he explains everything in layman’s terms and it's relatable.
(Laughs) I always know a good pundit when my mum says ‘I like him’ because she can understand them and she likes Tony.
Anyone who’s watched an interview with Carl Froch will know that he and George Groves sold 80,000 tickets to their rematch. It seems like the sky is the limit for world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Where do you think he’ll fight next?
It depends on who he fights I think. If the rematch with Wladimir Klitschko had happened, then that was going to be in Vegas but at the end of his last fight in Cardiff, he asked the fans what they wanted.
It was such a special, special night in Cardiff. I don’t think in my career I’ll ever top that feeling.
But AJ is honestly is so happy with where British boxing is and how it’s going. He’s leading the way in the heavyweight division and he’s also the poster boy for British boxing so he’s keen to stay here as much as possible, but it depends on who he fights.
I read on Wikipedia that AJ is also the second boxer, after Joe Frazier, to win a world heavyweight title whilst still reigning as Olympic champion at the top weight. We do have quite a lot of pro boxers who came through the Olympic ranks who are doing well, don’t we?
Yes definitely. There are lots - Luke Campbell, Joe Cordina, Nicola Adams, Joshua Buatsi, he really is one to watch if you haven’t seen him yet. And Katie Taylor of course too.
Joshua Buatsi took his time after the Olympics and I think did it the right way. He finished a degree in Sports Science at St Mary's University before he turned pro.
We’re definitely riding an Olympic wave. It’s brilliant.
Let's get back to Chip. Our next set of questions are ones you probably haven’t been asked before. Are you ready?
On Instagram, I saw you shared a photo of Chip with you at the gym. Did you have to get special permission for him to come along with you? He also seems very well behaved – I’m not sure my dogs would be quite that good.
(Laughs) Well, the gym in Fulham I go to isn’t a big one, it’s a small one and everyone who’s a member has a polaroid on the wall and Chip now has his own polaroid.
He just sits in his bed while you're working out and if you’re doing a pike, he’ll come around and lick your face in encouragement.
He’s well known there now. Everyone loves him.
I’ve been really conscious to get him involved in coming with me as much as possible, to the extent now that if I’m walking past it with him on the lead he just pulls me to go in.
If you were to swap roles with Mr Chip for a day, how do you think he'd cope being you and what would you love most about being him?
(Laughs) I kind of feel like we’re the same person anyway. I think he would enjoy it. I think I probably eat too healthy for his liking, he’d probably want a few more burgers.
I think I’d be pretty happy being him. Being wrapped up like a burrito and fed my favourite foods, lots of cuddles – it wouldn’t be a bad life.
Talking of wrapping him up like a burrito, do you have any Christmas outfit plans for Chip?
(Laughs) I’m sure he’ll have some sort of Christmas attire on.
For this question, we normally ask our celebs to match up the following celebrities to a breed of dog based on their personalities. But we’re going to switch it around this time, so based on personalities alone, which sports stars come to mind when you see these breeds of dog...
Miniature Dachshund – Ex-England footballer, David Beckham because he’s so dapper.
Border Terrier – F1 racer, Kimi Räikkönen.
Labrador Retriever – Retired rugby player, Johnny Wilkinson.
Boxer – British boxer, Tony Bellew.
Greyhound – Olympic champ, Usain Bolt.
Describe the last time you laughed out loud because of something you saw Mr Chip or another dog do.
(Laughs) Every day I laugh with him but he’s going through a phase at the moment of running under the throw on the bed and wrapping himself up in it to the point that he can’t move.
I filmed it this morning, it’s so funny. He just has so many facial expressions.
We did see quite a few of his facial expressions captured in our shoot. He has a fabulous little character.
(Laughs) He genuinely makes me laugh every day.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I used to dance and my music background. A lot of the time people ask me how I came to do what I do because I was a classical musician.
What’s your favourite song to work out to?
I really like power ballads or cheesy stuff when I’m in the gym.
My favourite is an 80s song by Journey called ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and there’s another song by a band called The 1975 called ‘Chocolate’.
What do you think is the most important life lesson we can learn from dogs?
Look after each other. When I first got Chip my mum said to me ‘whatever you put into him with training, love and time, you’ll get it back’ and I think that translates to life.
We have dogs being trained for all sorts of jobs nowadays and we’re still learning how to harness their natural skills for them. What do you think that Mr Chip knows about life that you don’t?
(Laughs) He knows where the biscuits are kept when I forget.
He’s really good at knowing my mood. You know sometimes when you wake up and you’re not in the best of moods but you haven’t yet realised it, I think they’re good at detecting that, getting you out for a walk and into the fresh air.
Finish the following sentence, my dog is…my world.
Does that sound cheesy?
(Laughs) Yesterday I was wearing a jumper which says ‘Eat, Sleep, Walk Dachshunds’. I wore it to the gym and everyone rolled their eyes and said ‘she’s turned into that woman’ because I’ve got Dachshund cups and everything now.
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires a fair degree of thinking time but...if Mr Chip had the ability to speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask him and what do you think he'd say?
This is a good question, let me think about it.
Well, a bit like the Daddy or Chips McCain TV ad because of his name, I’d ask him ‘who do you prefer, Mummy or Grandma?’ and he’d better say me (laughs).
Many thanks, Anna!