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    February 26th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015

    Claire Pearson has type 1 diabetes and end-stage renal failure and her children were young carers, often coming home from school to find her in a diabetic coma on the floor. Pal, a trained medical detection dog, changed the family’s lives as he can detect when Claire’s blood sugar levels are  dropping or rising meaning that she can now live independently, without fear and her teenage children can have their independence back as well.

    “We have a different Mum now. Before, she was a nervous wreck, she didn’t want to go out. But now she has Pal she wants to go everywhere.”

    “The boys nominated me without telling us! To go to Crufts would be fantastic – it’s something we’ve thought about before but we just couldn’t do it.”

    Voting lines are now open and the dog that goes on to receive the most public votes will win the competition, which will be announced in the Main Arena at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of Crufts, Sunday 8th March. To cast your vote, visit

    NEXT: Katie & Folly

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    February 26th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015

    Miracle was saved from being slaughtered for meat in Thailand, after he was photographed strangling himself in a bid to escape from the lorry that he was being transported in, with 1000 other dogs. He was rescued and bought back to the UK and has a special bond with his owner’s son, Kyle Leask, who has cerebral palsy and autism.

    “She posted this picture, thinking she was taking a photo of another dead dog. But the flash caused him to open one eye. That flash saved his life.”

    “To think that, at the biggest dog show in the world, there’s going to be a little street dog from Thailand…”

    Voting lines are now open and the dog that goes on to receive the most public votes will win the competition, which will be announced in the Main Arena at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of Crufts, Sunday 8th March. To cast your vote, visit

    NEXT: Claire & Pal

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    February 26th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015

    The world’s largest dog show, Crufts, returns to Channel 4 this March.

    With Clare Balding at the helm, Channel4 and More4 will broadcast all the action on the four days leading up to the grand finale on Sunday where the ‘The Best in Show’ will be crowned.

    Channel4 and More4 will cover the event at the following times:

    On More 4

    • Thursday 5th March: 18:30-21:00
    • Friday 6th March: 18:30-19:30

    On Channel 4

    • Friday 6th March: 19:30-21:00
    • Saturday 7th March: 19:00-21:00
    • Sunday 8th March: 19:00-21:00

    Clare will be joined at the famous dog show at Birmingham’s NEC by both Iwan Thomas, TV presenter and former Olympic athlete, and Victoria Stilwell, world-renowned dog trainer and TV presenter. This year will also see a guest appearance from Channel 4’s very own ‘Supervet’, Noel Fitzpatrick.

    All of the arena action from the show will also be shown on the Crufts YouTube channel which can be found at

    Clare Balding, who will be presenting the coverage on Channel4 and More4 said: “It is always a pleasure to be involved in Crufts, which holds a dear place in the hearts of that nation’s dog lovers. The quintessentially British event is a four-day celebration of everything that we love about dogs. I enjoy the variety of the programmes, with all of the action from the various competitions, from agility to showing, and the interviews and features with interesting and passionate people about the issues that are important to dog lovers.”

    Michael Cole, Commissioning Editor at Channel4, said: “Crufts is the largest dog show in the world and we are excited to see its return this March. We have a brand new set this year and our programmes will showcase the exciting displays and competitions, which celebrate Britain’s love affair with its favourite pet. Coverage will span across Channel4 and More4 throughout the four day event.”

    Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club, which organises Crufts, said: “Crufts holds such a special place in dog lovers’ hearts because it celebrates everything that we most love about dogs, and Channel4 and More4 reflect the full diversity of the event.

    “The programmes not only show exciting sports such as agility and flyball, and enable people to marvel at the huge range of wonderful breeds in this country through the showing aspect of Crufts, but it also covers topics of importance to dog owners about choosing, caring for and enjoying life with dogs.”

    More4 and Channel4’s Crufts coverage will be produced by Sunset + Vine.

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    February 26th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    One of our previous ShowTails stars was Merlin the German Spitz Mittel (and his owner Tina Taylor). Merlin competes in agility as well as breed showing and came 3rd in his class at Crufts 2014.

    10370903_10152308270738789_5884031908242883859_nWe’re pleased to announce that Merlin (Zephon Stormchasing) will be back this year, following an eventful 12 months. He’s now training twice a week as an agility dog and has won some rosettes at beginners shows; he achieved his Bronze level Good Citizen award at Bath Championship Show (and is working towards his Silver); and he qualified for Dog of the Year by winning reserve best In Match at Detling Ringcraft club. He’s even taken Best of Breed at a couple of shows.

    Merlin has also aquired a new canine brother (technically his cousin) last year, in the form of Casper, a white German Spitz Mittel (Zephon King of Winter). Tina is hoping to qualify Casper for Crufts in the future. (She would have hopefully qualified him this year if not to for the recent KC rule change which makes his age awkward!) Casper took Puppy Group 2 at Maidenhead last weekend, so the future looks bright for Tina’s team.

    Merlin will be competing against 77 other Mittels in the ring on Sunday, and we hope to catch up with them during the show to find out how they get on.

    We will also be checking out the action in the Klein rings nearby – that’s the smaller variety of German Spitz. This breed has had an interesting year, when, despite being relatively uncommon breed, one of their consistent winners  unexpectedly took Top Utility Dog in the annual Dog World points competition. It’s highly likely you’ll see Gen (Ch Longdale’s Gen You Win) in the Group line-up on the Sunday evening.

    Maybe Merlin will be there to keep her company…

    We’ll keep you updated with his progress on the day. Best of luck guys!

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    February 26th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    We are very excited to introduce today’s ShowTails star, Narla the working Golden Retriever, owned by Sarah Lindsey. Narla will be demonstrating that she’s perfectly fit for function on the Association of Pet Dog Trainers stand in Hall 5 on Saturday.

    “Working Golden Retrievers are very different from the show Golden Retrievers usually seen at Crufts,” says Sarah, who will be handling Narla (Merryway Narla of Goldbounty) on the day. “They have a much darker coat and are often smaller framed. But I really like the drive and ability of the breed. They are fiercely loyal and have the ability to work tirelessly.”

    Sarah owns and runs Little Orchard Dog Training Academy in Somerset. Sarah is a registered Veterinary Nurse and has been training dogs for 15 years – she has been to Crufts many times before. They own a working sheepdog and three working Goldies (including Narla’s daughter, Olive), and describe Narla as the head of the team. “She’s a fantastic pet dog; brilliant around children and other animals.”

    Narla is only 4 but already has a canine CV which puts most of us to shame. She has completed her Good Citizen awards to Gold level, undertaken a PAT dog assessment and competes regularly in agility. She does obedience and gundog work. Sarah uses her as teaching dog at her Academy, helping less social dogs learn proper ‘petiquette’. She takes part in a human school programme as well, and has even featured in a number of videos produced for an animal pharmaceutical company recently. Plus, she somehow found time to have two litters of puppies and is mum to 21 Working Goldies in total.

    At Crufts, Narla will be working with Sarah to demonstrate one to one handling, training techniques and games. This is Narla’s first time at Crufts and Sarah says it’s also her first time performing on a carpet, but hopefully that won’t throw her off her game too much. Sarah is more worried as to how she’ll manage to give Narla commands and present a demonstration at the same time – she has to use a microphone for the audience but doing this while communicating with Narla will be tricky.

    “I will be happy if Narla pleases the crowd and demonstrates what she can do,” she says. “Narla represents the breed well, although she does have her moments of craziness, which makes her fun. Narla comes most places with me; we’re best friends.”

    If you’re at Crufts on Saturday, make sure you stop by the APDT stand (number 175 in Hall 5) at 1:00 pm to pick up some training tips and watch Narla go!

    Narla agility

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    February 25th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    Our fourth ShowTails star is a Glen of Imaal Terrier. If this Vulnerable Native Breed is unfamiliar to you, you should stop by the Discover Dogs stand on Saturday to learn more; the handsome Mutley will be there all day.

    IMG_20130214_191628His owner, Nicki Montford, has even made him a green bandana, which features the phrase that most people utter the first time they meet the Glen of Imaal: “A Glen of a what!?” With an average of around 50 puppies born each year, and with just 30 exhibiting at Terrier Day at Crufts, it’s no wonder that very few people recognise this charming Irish Breed.

    Considered to be one of the most vulnerable dog breeds on the planet, the Glen of Imaal was only recognised by the American Kennel Club in 2004. However, its history dates back to the reign of Elizabeth I, when Irish peasants paired low slung hounds with local terrier stock to produce this distinctive breed. Aside from their rarity, they are cute little fellows, who apparently have a habit of sitting up on their bottoms like human babies!

    Nicki, has had Glens in her life since she switched from Dandie Dinmonts in 1996; “we fell in love instantly with their big personalities.” When she lost her first dog, Mahluf (that’s ‘Fulham’ backwards), her second dog Scarlett got lonely. As did Nicki – “just one wasn’t enough” she says. So, in 2009, Mutley (Pajantick Jimmy Mack) joined the family.

    While Mutley is primarily a pet, Nicki also shows him. Mutley can’t compete at Crufts this year because his breeder is the judge (she might be a little biased) so he’ll be doing his bit to represent the breed on the Discover Dogs stand instead. The public’s adoration will be a welcome break from how he usually spends his weekends, being bossed about by Nicki’s cat and her mother’s Cesky Terrier.IMG_20140926_165642

    Nicki says he also loves to go out in the car, so at least he’ll enjoy the long trip to the NEC!

    We look forward to catching up with Mutley at the show and we hope all of our readers stop by as well – “Muttley gives free kisses!” says Nicki.

    Want to know more about Irish dog breeds, including the Glen of Imaal? Click here


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    February 24th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    Our third ShowTails star is Shih Tzu Hugo Boss, who lives with his owner Sharon Galliford and five others of his breed. “He likes to try to live up to his name,” Sharon jokes, “but my girls won’t let him!”

    FB_IMG_1423092653763Sharon has been involved in breed rescue and foster for years, and has competed in handling and at companion dog shows, but Hugo (Ethelsmead That’ll Be The Day) is her first proper show dog. This will be their first Crufts together; Hugo qualified at his first show, aged just 6 months and 4 days – quite an impressive feat.

    Sharon says that they’ve had a fabulous 11 months together since he qualified, including completing their Bronze Good Citizen Award at 8 months. She hopes that they can both just enjoy Crufts and have some fun.

    “He loves to show off,” she says. She adopted Hugo as a puppy and says she was attracted to his cheekiness and outgoing personality. “At home he is my shadow. Wherever I am he is next to me.”  She may be seeing double soon, as she recently acquired Hugo’s half-brother, whom she also hopes to show.

    Hugo will be taking part in the Junior and Good Citizen classes on Sunday, competing against 181 other Shih Tzus.

    We’ll catch up with them then, but we’d like to take this opportunity to wish them the best of luck with their preparations. 

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    February 23rd, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    Huzzah1Meet Huzzah, the second white Miniature Schnauzer to ever qualify for Crufts. He’ll be strutting his stuff around the rings on Sunday 8th March, along with 157 other Minis.

    His owner describes Huzzah as excitable, mischievous and eager to please. When not winning rosettes, he enjoys racing round the garden like a loony, and is very loving. Known affectionately as ‘Whinge Bucket’ and ‘Beardy’, he rarely misbehaves (unless he thinks you’re not watching). He has a laid back, soft temperament and lives in harmony with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Romanii.

    Beanara Njals Saga at Lyzahro, as he is more formally known, was born in April 2012 in Liverpool and now lives in Wales with Lydia Williams. She says: “We are exceptionally proud to have been entrusted with this fantastic and very distinctive boy, and are very excited about his future.”

    Huzzah qualified for Crufts at South Wales Kennel Association Championship Show, where he placed 2nd in post graduate dog. “Being white, a colour that is rare in the Miniature Schnauzer world (and not a popular colour with all judges and exhibitors), Huzzah has had an absolute battle to qualify for Crufts.”

    Why is white controversial?

    Miniature Schnauzers were originally bred in Germany in order to size-down the popular standard and giant Schnauzers (both of which only come in two colours, salt & pepper and pure black). Other breeds like the Affenpinscher and the Poodle were used to achieve this, which lead to puppies being born in two new coat varieties: black & silver and pure white.

    The black & silver pups, being very similar to the salt & pepper variety, were widely accepted. The white pups, however, were considered to be not true to type, as neither of their parent breeds (the Standard and the Giant) ever presented with white coats.

    Genetics are quirky, however, and white Miniature Schnauzer puppies continued to be born. They could still be registered as purebred dogs but could not be entered in conformation shows. This is still the case in Canada and the USA, but in 2010, following a year of campaigning by pro-white breeders and exhibitors, the UK Kennel Club agreed to change the breed standard to include the fourth colour. (White had already been accepted by the parent German Pinscher-Schnauzer Klub and the FCI for some years.)

    Against the odds

    Despite the official UK KC acceptance of the coat colour, some Schnauzer kennels are still prejudiced against white dogs. There will be some attendees at the ringside at Crufts who feel like Huzzah does not belong there.

    However, he has an equal number of supporters from around the world on social media. In fact, as of 2015, Huzzah even has his own sponsor: Schnoozing Schnauzers, a company providing all the pet accessories you can think of.



    The future looks bright for this unique little dog. But Huzzah is extra special to his owner and handler, Lydia, for a reason which has nothing to do with his colour.  She has been handling dogs on and off since she was 11. Shortly after acquiring Huzzah as a present for her mother in 2013, she underwent major spinal surgery to remove a tumour and was told that she probably wouldn’t walk again. “Huzzah brought me hope and comfort after the surgery,” she said. “He also got me back on my feet and into the show ring again.” Qualifying her rare white dog for the world’s greatest dog show was just the vanilla icing on the cake.

    “I shouldn’t be walking, he shouldn’t have qualified. But Team White are here to stay!”

    Please join us in wishing Lydia and Huzzah the very best of luck at Crufts 2015. We’ll catch up with them at the show and let you know how they get on.   

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    February 23rd, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015

    A dog who has spent her entire life living in a dementia care home changing the lives of its elderly residents and a dog who miraculously survived a journey that was due to end in him being slaughtered for meat, but who now has a special bond with a six year old boy with cerebral palsy, are two of the finalists for the prestigious Eukanuba Friends for Life competition, at Crufts 2015.

    The annual Eukanuba Friends for Life competition at Crufts, run by the Kennel Club, celebrates uplifting stories of friendship in adversity and the four dogs which have made the 2015 shortlist were selected for their exceptional loyalty to their owners and for the way that they have changed their lives.

    Voting lines are now open and the dog that goes on to receive the most public votes will win the competition, which will be announced in the Main Arena at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of Crufts, Sunday 8th March.

    The finalists for 2015 are:

    Photo credit: onEdition/Kennel Club

    Photo credit: onEdition

    Crossbreed, Miracle and six year old Kyle Leask from Strathglass, Inverness – Miracle was saved from being slaughtered for meat in Thailand, after he was photographed strangling himself in a bid to escape from the lorry that he was being transported in, with 1000 other dogs. He was rescued and bought back to the UK and now has a special bond with his owner’s son, Kyle Leask, who has cerebral palsy and autism.


    Photo credit: onEdition

    Photo credit: onEdition


    Lhaso Apso, Ellie May and owner Julie Cashell, from Crickhowell Powys– Nine year old dog Ellie May has been living in Oaklands Care home for people with dementia since she was a puppy, helping to bring happiness and comfort to those in need and alone.




    Photo credit: onEdition


    Labrador, Pal, and owner Claire Pearson from Sittingbourne in Kent –  Claire Pearson, has type 1 diabetes and end-stage renal failure and her children were young carers, often coming home from school to find her in a diabetic coma on the floor. Pal, a trained medical detection dog, changed the family’s lives as he can detect when Claire’s blood sugar levels are  dropping or rising meaning that she can now live independently, without fear and her teenage children can have their independence back as well.

    Photo credit: onEdition

    Photo credit: onEdition


    Crossbreed, Folly, and owner Katy Evans, from Birmingham – Katy was born with cerebral palsy and struggled at University where she became shy and introverted as people could not see past her wheelchair.  Her life changed when she was paired with Folly, a dog trained by the charity Canine Partners, who could do everything from helping Katy dress to lifting her wheelchair plates but who also gave her a new lease of life with his joy and enthusiasm.


    You can watch all the finalist’s videos here

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “All of the finalists for the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition demonstrate just how important dogs are to our lives and what a difference they make to us, both in our best times and when things are tough.”

    Jose Luis Ibanez from Eukanuba, said: “We are so pleased to be part of a competition that celebrates how loyal and loving man’s best friend truly is. It is now down to the public to choose the overall winner whose story touches them the most, which will be announced on the final night of Crufts.”

    The winner of the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition will receive £1,500 and the other finalists will receive £750 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, all for their chosen charities.

    People can vote for their ultimate ‘Eukanuba Friend for Life’ at

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    February 23rd, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    Meet Bindi the Smooth Collie; the first of our 2015 ShowTails participants.

    BindiBindi (Seanua Sans Souci) is entered in the Obreedience competition and will be handled by her owner, Sophie Harrison. (In fact, they’ll be competing against a 2014 ShowTails star, Kheva the Pyrenean Sheepdog, so now we’re conflicted as to who to cheer for!) This is the first time either Sophie or Bindi have competed at Crufts and they are hoping that their nerves don’t get the better of them.  Both of them have previously competed in Rally and Agility, but never in front of such large crowds.

    Stage fright aside, Sophie tells us that she is looking forward to promoting this little known breed to such a wide audience. Smooth Collies are one of the British Vulnerable Native Breeds, with just 33 puppies registered in 2014. “Smooths get so little publicity and are so vulnerable; it would be lovely to promote them. They make fantastic family pets and are versatile enough to turn their hands to a variety of disciplines,” she says.

    Bindi is living proof of this fact; she’s clicker trained, gained all her Good Citizen awards before she was 13 months old, works as a registered PAT dog and raised £6,500 for charity last year by walking the 102 mile Cotswold Way in a week.

    At home, Sophie describes her as easy to live with, though friends have nicknamed her “Princess” due to her fastidious ways. “She’s the dog who walks around puddles and refuses to take treats from strangers, though her passion for rolling in fox poo is hardly princess-like!”  Bindi shares her home with a German Shepherd, a Schipperke and three very bossy cats.

    Sophie, who has lived in both the UK and Australia, was attracted to this unusual breed for one of the reasons which it is so often overlooked: the Smooth coat. They may lack the glamour of the Rough Collie appearance, but they’re certainly less work! “I wanted a dog that would be intelligent and athletic, good natured and social, with a low maintenance coat,” she says.  Health and temperament was a priority when picking a breeder, and Sophie prepared for 2 years before adding Bindi to the family. Bindi loved to carry things in her mouth, even as a tiny puppy, which was a desirable trait in a potential Obedience competitor and the reason why Sophie picked her out of the litter. “I wanted a dog who would want a job to do.”

    Hopefully Bindi will be able to do the importent job of representing her rare breed at the world’s biggest dog show. “I hope that the scale of the event won’t intimidate her, and that we are both able to enjoy our day,” says Sophie.

    She and Bindi will be competing in the Obedience ring on the Saturday, and we will of course let you know how they get on. In the meantime, please join us in wishing them (and the rest of the Smooth Collie team) the best of luck.  

    Photo credit: The Kennel Club

    Photo credit: The Kennel Club


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