Meet Tank, Eagle-Vail’s skateboarding mini bulldog (video) | SteamboatToday.com

Meet Tank, Eagle-Vail’s skateboarding mini bulldog (video)

John LaConte/Vail Daily

Eagle-Vail skateboarder Tank, a mini English bulldog, is a team rider for Hamboards.

Tank is usually a mild-mannered dog.

Get him around his skateboard, though, and he really comes out of his shell.

This weekend at the GoPro Mountain Games, you can see Tank skateboarding around Meadow Drive, attracting crowds with his prowess on the board. You’ll probably hear him before you see him.

“The only time he really barks is when he sees a skateboard,” said Cheryl Cannataro, Tank’s owner. “He loves to skate.”

Cannataro has had Tank since he was a puppy.

“I gave him his first skateboard when he was about five or six months old,” she said. “He would ride it back and forth in the kitchen, just chasing the wheels, and now he has progressed to jumping on it and riding it out.”

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Inspired by Tillman
The most frequent question Cannataro receives when people see Tank skateboarding is, “How did you teach him to do that?”

Cannataro said Tank was born with a desire to be on the board.

“I did not teach him anything,” she said. “I put a skateboard on the ground, and that’s all I did. He just jumped on it and took off.”

Cannataro was one of millions of people who realized dogs are indeed capable of skateboarding after seeing Tillman, the English bulldog from California who became a YouTube sensation in 2007.

“There must be something about their breed,” Cannataro said. “You don’t see a ton of other skateboarding dogs. Someone once told me that maybe it’s because they’re lazy, they can skateboard instead of running.”

Tillman, who died in 2015 at the age of 10, was a full-sized English bulldog, weighing in at 60 pounds. Tank is a miniature English bulldog, about two-thirds the size of Tillman.

“I had always seen the videos (of Tillman),” Cannataro said. “That’s what made me think maybe Tank could do it. So I got him a board when he was a puppy.”

Tank is now 5. As he ages, Cannataro hopes to find more inspiration from Tillman.

“I saw that (Tillman) also learned to snowboard,” Cannataro said. “If it’s cold out, I can’t even get (Tank) to go out to go to the bathroom.”

Ron Davis, Tillman’s owner, wrote in his dogster.com profile that Tillman loved his parka.

“Then he knows he’s going snowboarding,” Davis wrote.

Cannataro said as snowskates — skateboard-style snowboards with no bindings — become more popular, it gives her hope for Tank.

“He’s a little more finicky with winter sports,” she said.

Mountain Games sideshow

Two years ago, Cannataro and Tank were wandering around the GoPro Mountain Games when Tank spotted a skateboard.

“He noticed a board at the Hamboards booth, freaked out and started barking, and someone in their booth asked if he could do it,” she said. “He turned into a spectacle.”

Tank kept skateboarding until his feet bled.

“They kind of adopted him at the Hamboards booth,” Cannataro said. “They asked if he would come back the next day and the rest is history.”

The Hamboards wide board design — which company owners recently touted on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” comparing it to a surfboard — was perfect for Tank, who seemed to prefer the wider design. Hamboards gave Tank a board of his own and told him to keep practicing.

Unlike Tillman, “he hasn’t really figured out turning yet,” Cannataro said of Tank, but that’s next.

Now a team rider for Hamboards, Tank will once again be a sideshow at this year’s games, where you can find him skateboarding on Meadow Drive.

“He brings a lot of joy to people, everybody loves watching him skate around,” Cannataro said. “He’s a perfect sideshow attraction at the games.”

Bulldogs aren’t known for being a picture of health, but Cannataro says as Tank gets on in years, she’s hoping skateboarding will keep him in shape enough to promote some longevity.

“He’s a pretty active dog, for a bulldog,” she said. “I try not to think about the health problems that come with his breed. … The skateboarding is keeping him in pretty darn good shape.”