BCRF: Michael Keaton

Rich and famous actor Michael Keaton is best known for playing talented but eccentric anti-heroes with obsessive compulsive personalities, most notably Bruce Wayne in Batman and the titular BeetleJuice.  It’s no wonder that such an A-type personality would be drawn to a Border Collie as a pet.

When he appeared on Letterman to promote the premiere of his Batman film, Keaton told Dave how his Border Collie named Dusty commands him to wear a sheep costume and be chased around the yard.

Keaton's Border Collie often gave him commands he was helpless to resist.

I think the admission that a Border Collie was giving him direction at home (and perhaps on the set too) explains some of Keaton’s less successful on-screen appearances.  In a recent interview, Sylvester Stallone blames Keaton‘s insta-muscle suit used in Batman for the downfall of the 80s steroid enhanced action hero.  But true fans of Batman know that it was never about a square jaw and muscles, but a superior intellect and exceptional work ethic that made Batman prevail over his foes.  Also billions of dollars and gizmos.  But mostly intellect and work ethic: the perfect superhero for a Border Collie lover.

Here’s the clip of Keaton telling Dave Letterman about his crazy Border Collie Dusty:


Here’s a fast and dirty transcription:

Keaton: Which is great, you feel great when you come up with a thing like that. You WORK and you come home and you’re tired.

You’re going to love this segway, no really, you are, watch this. You go and you just work, you feel like your work, which is something that my dog doesn’t really experience, because, you know.

I’m was just telling you this thing about Border Collies being nuts…

Letterman: Yeah, they really are, they’re crazy.

Keaton: No I have one.

Letterman: You have a border collie?

Keaton: Yes, I have a fabulous dog.

[Speaking as the Border Collie] Is there anything I can do in the house? I will do anything.

Letterman: Have you seen sheep, have you heard about sheep? Has anyone called about sheep?

Keaton: Will you just put a sheep outfit on for me, and run around for me, just for a couple of minutes? And then I want you to be a maveric of the group.

He directs me.

Letterman: I can remember when I told this story several times, when we had them on the show some we were using on the show, some had to wait in the dressing room, like many of our guests, and the ones who had to wait in the dressing room the whole time were like that, looking out the door the whole time, like they could be called at any time. Looking out the door like “I could be called out there any second.”

Keaton: Were a lot of them going over their stuff?

Letterman: Yeah, their scripts, they were quizzing eachother on it!

Keaton: Not like those Labradors sitting around all the time.

Letterman: Now do you have him indoors or do you let him run?

Keaton: He does it all.

Letterman: What’s his name?

Keaton: Dusty. Sean, my little boy named him.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.