Only 107 dogs have earned their RACH titles since November 2017. Of these dogs, only one is a Briard. And only one dog has earned a RACH the dark. While impressive, this is far from the only accomplishment of 10-year-old Norman the Briard. In fact, he has been a dog star all his life — earning Guinness World Records, achieving titles in nearly a dozen sports, and going on tour as a trick dog on a scooter.
And it all began with a puppy.
Karen Cobb originally owned Shiba Inus. She competed with her dogs in Obedience and Agility but described them as “cat-like,” noting that “they didn’t like to show you that they liked you.” While Shiba Inus are the perfect breed for some families, Karen knew for her next dog, she wanted to find a breed that was more affectionate and loyal.
That’s when she decided on the faithful and human-like Briard. “They naturally want to stick around the family,” Karen says. Norman joined Karen’s family in 2009.
The Scooter-Riding Dog
Originally, Karen hoped Norman would be her OTCH and MACH dog. But as a puppy, he exhibited a special talent. “I introduced him to all the kids’ toys in the backyard,” Karen says. “I had him just follow a treat onto my kid’s scooter and he loved it, so I decided to teach it as a trick.”
That trick took the entire family on an unexpected and exciting adventure. Videos of Norman riding a scooter went viral. Shortly after achieving his Championship and Companion Dog (CD) at one year old, they took a break from AKC sports and went on tour for a dog food company. On live news and talk shows around the country, Norman performed scooter and bike riding tricks.
The family suddenly had fans nationwide — they even starred in two seasons of a reality TV show and multiple documentaries.
With all the action, it took until 2016 for Norman to get back into AKC sports.
“We wanted to get a title in every dog sport a Briard was eligible to compete in and at the highest level possible,” Karen says.
She kept to this goal, competing in every sport Norman was eligible. Rally is his favorite, she says, because he is able to keep close to Karen and go fast, which he loves.
Not a Death Sentence
Just a year into their return to sports, Karen received devastating news. Norman was diagnosed with Lymphoma in June 2017. Karen knew this was usually a death sentence for dogs, so she immediately realized she had to find a way to keep Norman alive. “He was too young for this to be his end,” she says. “I told my vet I would do anything to help him.” Her vet told her about bone marrow transplants, and she instantly began interviewing the three vets in the country who had performed this procedure.
“We chose Dr. Chretin in Los Angeles because he had the highest success rate,” Karen says. “It was supposed to be an 18-day stay from entering the hospital to isolation days when his white blood cells would drop and start to build back up and then his release.”
But Norman’s hospital stay turned out to be 66 days because his platelet level was dropping instead of increasing. He needed daily platelet transfusions at $2,000 apiece. The procedure was originally quoted at about $45,000 and had quadrupled.
“This was the first time any of the vets who performed BMTs had had a dog who developed a factor V clotting issue. Cornell University has been documenting and following Norman’s unique case as well.”
With the help of Norman’s fans, the family pulled through.
Today, Norman is back to his old self. Karen even says people are surprised to hear he is 10 years old. “He acts like a puppy!” she says. About seven months after Norman’s bone marrow transplant, once Norman’s platelets and clotting levels were back to normal, the duo returned to dog sports.
RACH in the Dark
Karen’s favorite memory in dog sports came on June 23, 2019. Karen and Norman had been working hard to earn their RACH. That day, they needed nine more points and a triple qualifying leg. After the first class, they got nine points. They continued and qualified in their second class. That meant they just needed to qualify in their third class in order to earn the RACH.
Suddenly, a huge thunderstorm came in. The lights in the room started to flicker as the dog before Norman went into the ring. And right as it was Karen and Norman’s turn, the lights went completely out.
Everyone knew how close Norman was to earning this prestigious title, so the crowd of other exhibitors and spectators pulled out their cell phones and used their flashlights to light up the ring.
Several people clustered near the jump to provide additional light, so Norman didn’t hurt himself. It was a moving moment of showmanship and teamwork. And it worked. Norman earned his RACH under the most memorable circumstances.
Video courtesy of Marilyn Wigley
Norman the Scooter Dog’s AKC Titles
CH RACH Bijou Endless Journey UD RM2 RAE2 FDC OAP OJP CA BCAT SCN SIN TT DD THDN RATO DS DJ AN CGCA CGCU TKE
- DD – Norman was the first Briard to get this through BCA
- DDX – Norman is the first and only Briard to achieve this title.
- RACH, RM2, RAE2
- OAP, OJP
- Coursing Ability
- CA, BCAT
- Canine Good Citizen
- CGC, CGCA, CGCU
- Farm Dog certified
- Temperament Test passing
- Barn Hunt
- Diving Dogs
- AN, DS
- Therapy Dog
- R.E.A.D. dog
- Trick Dog Elite
- Norman had to stop after his battle with lymphoma
- SCN, SIN (still competing)
- Norman is still working on Flyball and Tracking
Norman the Scooter Dog’s Other Accomplishments
- Norman has two Guinness World Records
- Fastest 30 m on a scooter by a dog
- Fastest 30 m on a bicycle by a dog
- Winner of the Top Trick Award on George Lopez’s WORLD DOG AWARDS
- Rose Parade surfing on a Guinness world-record-setting float.
- Mardi Gras parade float
- Two Walt Disney World parades
- Show Appearances:
- Late Show with David Letterman
- Rachel Ray
- Anderson Live
- Jeff Probst
- Wheel of Fortune
- Over 100 local news shows
- Nat Geo
- Multiple documentaries
- Two seasons of the reality show “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
- Many other talk shows
Think your dog has what it takes to be Dog Star of the Month? Use the hashtag #ThisIsAKC on Instagram.