Olate Dogs (originally Olate Family’s Dogs) is an American dog trick act featuring father-and-son trainers Richard and Nicholas Olate. The group won the seventh season (2012) ofAmerica’s Got Talent, claiming the US$1,000,000 first prize.
Richard Olate grew up in Santiago, Chile, where he adopted a stray dog and taught it tricks. He soon adopted more dogs and started a dog act. His brother Jose joined the act and the two caught the attention of a circus promoter. They came to America in 1989 and found success as part of Circus Vargas. Richard got married and eventually his wife Rebecca and son Nicholas joined the act. Olate Dogs performed in the Big Apple Circus and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. They appeared in TV commercials and on multiple morning programs before becoming national stars on America’s Got Talent. Subsequently, they have toured the country and performed during NBA halftimes.
Olate Dogs features four different five-minute acts that include numerous tricks such as dogs jumping rope, going down slides, and riding scooters. The act also features a doggy conga line and a pooch that does back flips. Up to 10 of their 22 dogs perform during each show. Olate Dogs – Wikipedia
I got to see Olate Dogs (pronounced Oh-LA-TAY) perform in person on Sunday afternoon at the Englewood Performing Arts Center near me in New Jersey. They are the most precious and cute act I’ve ever seen and so entertaining. As the description above states they are the dogs of a father and son team that won America’s Got Talent in 2012.
The dogs are all rescued dogs from various shelters and abusive situations and from the streets of Chile where Nicholas’s father is from. Nicholas explained that one of the dogs was from an abusive situation in Canada and he was all brown and yellow when they got him. After they bathed him they discovered he was a white dog. Nicholas and his dad introduce each of the dogs and tell a little about each one’s history. During the show Nicholas explains how his father came from extreme poverty in Chile wearing only one set of clothes he had which he washed everyday so he could wear them the next day. He was the second youngest of 22 kids. He really loved animals growing up and wanted to come to America and make his dream of performing with dogs come true, but was constantly discouraged by everyone in the community. He put together a dog act and performed locally and worked hard until eventually he was seen by an American circus company and they brought him to America. Winning America’ Got Talent was a dream come true for him and Nicholas and in 2010 he became a citizen. Now that is the kind of immigration story you want to hear. He has been training dogs for 48 years now. You can tell they love their dogs so much and the dogs love them.
During the show they put on a dog fashion show and have the dogs come out in various costumes to music playing. The costumes include wide flowing dresses and wide brim hats for the female dogs and tuxedo and tights for the male dogs.
They perform tricks like jumping rope, jumping over hoops and each other and Nicholas and his dad and going down slides. They even have a little conga line they do. It never ceased to amaze me how they can get their dogs to perform on two hind legs for such a long period of time, skipping, hopping and just plain walking. I have included a video of them from a Christmas show on America’s Got Talent below.
At one point Nicholas displayed his talent of singing a beautiful song while playing acoustic guitar. He’s got a great sounding voice and I can see a successful musical career for him.