Meet the dog who plays Cheddar on Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Although a few different dogs have played Cheddar, Captain Holt’s prized corgi, on Brooklyn Nine-Nine over the years, the longest-running pooch is 11-year-old Stewart. (Holt himself would definitely approve of that matter-of-fact human name — remember how he named puppies Richard and Dan?) We asked trainer Michael W. Miliotti to throw us a bone and take us behind the scenes on Stewart’s dog days on set.
On Stewart’s special skills
“He has a little routine where he does a little ‘stick ’em up,’ getting arrested and then shot and he plays dead,” Miliotti says. “That’s been a little gag where we’ve used that on several occasions. But most of his training has been the movie basics, and we mold and remold every job we do.” One trick Stewart had to master for Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Running through vents and retrieving a plaque for the show’s fourth Halloween special.
On loving food
“Stewart is not big on play, as far as toys and whatnot; Stewart is all about food. Food is what makes Stewart tick,” Miliotti says. (We can relate.) “You have hide everything high and low from Stewart because he will find it and make himself sick on it, and it has happened on occasion.” That exact scenario actually happens to fictional Cheddar in the finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s fifth season, in which the would-be ring bearer gorges himself on cake. “It was not [a real cake],” Miliotti says of the frosting we see Stewart-as-Cheddar rolling around in. “It was basically shaving cream and all phony stuff underneath.”
On mishaps on set
“Stewart is not necessarily one of our full-time movie dogs, so he works when he needs to work, but he’s not always working,” Miliotti reveals. “So when he does get on set, it’s a fine line of keeping him under control and un-clownish, because he does feed off the energy of the set, so if he does make a mistake and there’s a reaction, he will make the mistake over and over again just because he can get the laugh.”
According to executive producer Dan Goor: “In the episode where Gina and Terry try to boost Captain Holt’s social media presence by making Instagram pictures of Cheddar, there is a scene where Holt gives a moving speech filled with gravitas about honor and duty. Every time he began that monologue, Cheddar, who was just off screen, would let out a soft, unending howl, which cracked up everyone on set. Every time.”