Dogs in the News Fetching you all the latest canine headlines
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    January 26th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    DexterThis is how Dexter the Papillon looked in the first photo we ever saw of him, when we featured him in our Show Tails series in 2014.

    Owner Kate Bull said “This is my favourite picture of Dexter. He was ten months old here:  it was his first time on the beach and he got very dirty as you can see . The people we were with kept asking us if we were sure he was a show dog!” 

    Then we met him at Crufts 2014 – what a difference a bath makes! The little guy was quite sleepy after his first big show, but obliged us with a few photos. Last week Kate sent us the following Tweet. Dexter has blossomed into a handsome chap, don’t you think? We can’t wait to see Dexter again at Crufts 2015!


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    January 20th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015, Show Tails

    You may remember Kheva, the Pyrenean Sheepdog who we featured in our Show Tails series in 2014. She had a wonderful time at Crufts and did very well for herself, coming second in both her classes at just under one year old.

    When Kheva’s not strutting her stuff in the show ring, she participates in flyball, obedience and agility, and loves hanging out with her JRT sister Jinty. Plus, she’s a qualified PAT dog and has recently started canine modelling. You can keep up to date with all her antics over on her Facebook page.

    Unfortunately, in June this year, Kheva had an accident and required surgery for a luxating patella. This busy lady had to take a few months out for crate rest, and she didn’t like it one bit.

    While we’re sure she looked very fetching in the cone of shame, we are pleased to report that Kheva has now made a full recovery, and is back to her bouncy self. The even better news is that this Pyrenean is off to Crufts again, after being selected for the Pyrenean Sheepdog Obreedience team. Go Kheva!

    Photo Credit: Jess Clark / The Kennel Club

    Photo Credit: Jess Clark / The Kennel Club

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    January 16th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015

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    January 5th, 2015Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2015
    Photo Credit: Laura Patricia (DITN)

    Photo Credit: Laura Patricia (DITN)

    • 22,000 dogs from across the world to flock to the NEC
    • Famous faces to include Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Paul O’Grady
    • Channel4 and More4 to broadcast the show and livestream on YouTube
    • Top dog: Best in Show award, heroic Friends for Life medal and agility trophies amongst the coveted prizes to be won

    It is estimated that around 22,000 dogs and hundreds of thousands of dog lovers will return to the NEC in Birmingham on 5-8 March 2015, for the world’s biggest celebration of dogs, Crufts.

    The four-day event will see the nation’s most heroic dogs rewarded in the prestigious Friends for Life competition; the nation’s favourite crossbreeds compete in the Scruffts grand final; the world’s most athletic canines battling it out in dog sports such as Agility and Flyball and the world-famous Best in Show competition.

    Famous faces attending the show include Amanda Holden, Paul O’Grady and Alesha Dixon, who will be supporting Bayer’s Lungworm Aware campaign. Channel4 and More4 are to broadcast the event and all of the Arena action will be live streamed on the Crufts YouTube channel.

    The Best in Group competitions that lead to the Best in Show will see Gundog breeds compete on the 5th March, Working and Pastoral breeds on the 6th March, Terrier and Hound breeds on the 7th March and Toy and Utility on the 8th March.

    “Crufts is a British institution and a must see for all dog lovers” said Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary. “It is the world’s largest gathering of all dogs – pedigree and crossbreed, large and small, athletic and competitive and companion and heroic and celebrates everything that we love the most about man’s best friend.”

    Visitors to the show will be able visit the Discover Dogs area, where they will meet more than 200 breeds and find out more about buying the right dog for them. Visitors will also be able to learn about Kennel Club Assured Breeders, who put the health and welfare of their puppies first and foremost and about the pioneering projects that the Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust are working on to improve dog health.

    As well as enjoying watching the many different events and competitions at the show, visitors can also enjoy the ultimate doggie shopping experience with hundreds of trade stands selling everything and anything for dogs and dog lovers.

    Weekday tickets cost £16.50 for adults in advance and £18 on the door and weekend tickets cost £17.60 in advance and £19 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £17.50. Concessions are also available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee.  Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 338 0338, or online at

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    March 11th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014

    Dog lovers flocked to the NEC in their hundreds of thousands last week as Crufts celebrated joint biggest year, with almost 160,000 people coming to celebrate the British love affair with dogs.

    In total 159,536 people visited the show over the course of the four day event, whose principal sponsor is Eukanuba, closely matching the record breaking 2008 attendance figure. The gate was up seven percent on last year.

    Celebrities who dropped in to coo at the Cocker Spaniels and fawn over the Foxhounds included Homeland actor Damian Lewis; Harry Potter actress Elizabeth McCrory; TV presenter Ulrika Johnson; singer, actor and TV presenter John Barrowman; TV presenter and actress Amanda Holden, Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford MBE and Downtown Abbey star Lesley Nicol.

    A record number of people tuned in the watch the coverage across Channel 4 and More4 with a total of 4.6 million tuning in, compared to 1.8 million last year. Viewing figures peaked at 1.8million on Sunday night alone, as people watched Standard Poodle, Ricky be crowned as Best in Show and Cocker Spaniel, Molly be crowned as the UK’s top dog hero in the Friends for Life competition.

    This was despite the fact that Thursday night stand-in Liza Tarbuck drew criticism for her apparent lack of knowledge and reliance on her tablet.

    Additionally, 75,400 hours of watch-time was clocked up on the Crufts Youtube channel, with more than 48,000 watching the live internet stream. The Crufts Facebook page was hugely popular, delivering pictures, videos, news and comment throughout the show and now has over 133,000 likes, 366,000 fans and with almost 14 million views of Kennel Club social media posts throughout the event.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Crufts celebrates the British love affair with dogs in a unique and special way and we are so pleased that people continue to get so much pleasure from the event. The show reflects the extraordinary and special relationships that people have with their dogs.

    “Year on year people visit Crufts to watch exciting dog sports and competitions from agility, showing, flyball and  heelwork to music to dog hero competition Friends for Life and crossbreed competition Scruffts, but it also helps potential dog owners to make responsible decisions about buying a puppy or rescue dog. The event was packed with information about which breeds suits which lifestyles in the Discover Dogs area; how to ensure that you get a healthy puppy from a responsible breeder or rescue home and what is being done generally to improve dog health, in the Breeding for the Future area and how to be a responsible dog owner in areas such as the Good Citizen Dog Training ring.

    “We would like to thank everybody who entered their dogs into Crufts or took part in one of the many activities at the show, many of whom had travelled miles and crossed seas to be there, and every member of the visiting and viewing public who supported the event due to their love of dogs.

    “We could not have put on such a marvelous show without our fantastic sponsors and without Channel 4 and More4, who as always, did a superb job of showing the nation all that Crufts is about. The television coverage reflected the excitement and diversity of the various Crufts competitions and was a platform for the discussion of interesting and important issues about buying the right puppy, dog health and how to be a responsible dog owner.”

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    March 7th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014

    A dog rescued by soldiers in Afghanistan is one of six special crossbreed dogs which are heading to the world’s greatest dog event next week.

    Wylie, who had his ears cut off and had also been stabbed and run over before he was rescued, will be competing against five other dogs which have beaten hundreds of competitors from around the country to make it to the Scruffts grand finale, taking place at Crufts at the NEC, Birmingham on Friday 7 th March.

    Kerrang! Radio DJ and former Big Brother winner, Kate Lawler will choose the winner in the Main Arena at the show. Kate, whose afternoon show on the station draws over a million listeners each week, will be judging the six finalists on qualities like good character, health and temperament with people and other dogs.

    The Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year competition is run by the Kennel Club, which organises Crufts, and caters exclusively for crossbreed dogs: dogs whose parents are of two different breeds, or a mixture of several breeds.

    The six finalists qualified for a place in the Scruffts final after winning classes at heats around the country during 2013 and then winning at the semi-finals, which took place at the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event last November.

    The six finalists for the 2014 final are as follows:

    · Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog (6 months – 7 years)

    Bailey, owned by Nigel McManus from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute. Bailey was adopted from an SSPCA Shelter after he was found wandering the streets of Glasgow, but Nigel says he is now “a real star” who does obedience classes and agility training, and really loves long walks in the hills.

    · Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch (6 months – 7 years)

    Sylvy, owned by Danni Holder from Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham. Sylvy was born at Dogs Trust and had kennel cough from when she was only a few days old, before developing parvo along with her seven brothers and sisters – sadly only three survived. Since then Sylvy has gone on to be qualified as a Pets at Therapy dog and Danni describes her as a “very friendly” dog and “wants to be best friends with everyone”.

    · Child’s Best Friend – handled by a young person between 6 and 16 years of age inclusively (6 months – 12 years)

    Lola, owned by fifteen year old Amy Graham from Randalstown, Co Antrim. Lola was found wandering the streets eating out of bins in January last year. Amy says “We all fell in love with her little face immediately. She is an amazing dog, she wakes me up for school by jumping on my bed. If I am ever sick or upset she comes up to me and looks after me.”

    · Golden Oldie Crossbreed (8 years or over)

    Willow, owned by Sheli Brown from Crewe, Cheshire. Willow works as a therapy dog, spending time with young people and children. She is the oldest dog competing and loves balls and sticks. Proud owner Sheli says she is “absolutely thrilled” to be competing in the final.

    · Best Crossbreed Rescue

    Wylie, owned by Sarah Singleton from Yeovil, Somerset. Wylie was forced into a dog fight and was near death before he was rescued by soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, back in 2011. They took him to an army base where he was treated for some horrific injuries. His ears were cut off (a long standing tradition for Afghan dogs used for fighting), and he was stabbed and run over by a car. Despite all of this he has recovered and is described by Sarah as a “gentle, trusting and loving dog”.

    · Good Citizen Dog Scheme Crossbreed (for entrants that have a GCDS certificate at any level)

    Barney, owned by Mike Murray from Kenley, Greater London. Barney was rescued from a pet shop where he was kept in appalling conditions but is now described by Mike as “a fantastic member of our family” and “a very loving dog” who enjoys nothing more than a walk in the woods.

    Throughout last year, heats of the popular Scruffts contest, which is supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved, took place at events around the country in search of crossbreeds with that extra special something. Nearly 1,200 dogs took part in the Scruffts heats last year, raising over £6,000 for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and each event’s chosen charity. All competitors received James Wellbeloved treats and a copy of Your Dog magazine, the Scruffts media partner.

    Apart from the sought-after title, the winner at this year’s Scruffts will win a year’s supply of healthy hypo-allergenic dog food from James Wellbeloved.

    James Wellbeloved marketing manager, Anne-Laure Jaouën said: “The Scruffts final is the highlight of my year. All of last year’s finalists were brilliant and I can’t wait to meet the finalists for this year. It’s amazing to hear the incredible stories that these crossbreeds have and I wish them all the very best of luck.”

    Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has awarded over £8m worth of grants to benefit the canine world since its inception in 1987. The Trust awards grants to welfare organisations which make a difference to dogs’ lives, and also provides financial support to canine scientific research and support charities.

    To find out more about Scruffts, please visit

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    March 4th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    Today we have another Flyball competitor in our midst; meet Carla and Troos, a Border Collie.

    Carla has been to Crufts before but this is Troos’ first time; she is looking forward to sharing this experience with him, but is dreading being knocked out in the first round. Troos means ‘solace’, but hopefully Carla won’t need any. They compete with The Marnicks, as does her husband, so she’ll have plenty of moral support.

    Carla has been doing flyball for six years and works as a childminder. She currently juggles six dogs, and two children. Perhaps understandably, she wasn’t initially keen on adding another puppy into that mix: “My husband went to look at the litter, with the mind to buying one of the brothers. I had no intention of having one, but I saw the litter once and only looked at Troos and fell in love.”  Her husband also got his puppy, and so Lycan and Troos could have been double trouble, but thankfully Troos turned out to be a “confident but calm puppy”.

    As well as flyball, both Troos and Lycan partake in swimming at their local K9 Fitness Hydortherapy Centre. “They have been accommodating to help improve the fitness of our already active dogs.” Otherwise, they love having fun on the beach or out in the nearby fields.

    “Troos is the one who wants my instructions. He loves working and aims to please. He never tires of entertaining the kids and is so gentle.”

    Troos (kennel name Shining Light of Solace) is a litter mate to another Show Tails canine, Acer (and therefore also to, Neon, Logan, and Blitz, as well as Lycan) and we are informed that they will all be celebrating their 3rd birthdays together at Crufts. Their parents were both Crufts competitors as well.  Troos and Carla are competing in the Main Arena on Friday afternoon.  Please join us in wishing them the best of luck.

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    February 18th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014

    The annual Crufts Friends for Life competition, run by the Kennel Club, celebrates uplifting stories of friendship in adversity and the five dogs which have made the 2014 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 at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of Crufts, Sunday 9th March.

    The finalists for 2014 are:

    Cocker Spaniel, Molls and eleven year old Steven Courtney from Bicester, Oxfordshire
    0844 646 0201 - Watch their video HERE

    Steven and Molls

    Medical Detection dog, Molls, saves her eleven year old owner Steven’s life, with her ability to detect when his blood sugar levels fall or rise to life threateing levels.  Steven was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was three and everyone in his household was constantly on high alert until Molls came along three years ago. As part of the alert, Molls has been trained to fetch the glucose testing kit; she has even alerted from the sidelines when Steven was playing football preventing an episode and allowing Steven to enjoy the sport he loves.

    Serena Courtney, Steven’s mum, said: “Having Molls has changed our lives as a family. Steven is so much calmer and more relaxed and the bond that they share is incredible. We feel so much better knowing that she is around to look out for her best friend.”

    Cocker Spaniel, Molly and Lucy Watts from Benfleet, Essex
    0844 646 0202 - Watch their video HERE

    Lucy and Molly Feeling isolated and alone as a result of her chronic and life limiting illness, 20 year old Lucy was giving up on life before Molly

    entered it. Living with ehlers-danlos syndrome, Lucy is in pain, fed through her bloodstream and wheelchair bound and was in a dark place before Molly came along. Molly gave Lucy the assurance and independence that she needed.

    Since Molly has been in her life she has gained independence and confidence. Instead of everything being about her condition when she met new people, the conversation would instead turn to Molly and Lucy’s confidence grew. Instead of being shy and withdrawn she will now take Molly to agility training and she has even spoken in parliament. And when she has can’t get out of bed for days, or even weeks, Molly never judges and can always make Lucy smile.

    Lucy said: “Molly has not only given me confidence but also independence to live what remains of my life in a way I couldn’t have imagined before. For the first time in six years, I went out on my own and took her for a walk. It was such a liberating experience.

    “Being in a wheelchair can be an isolating experience; people don’t know how to talk to you so often they don’t include you. I found that really hard but when Molly came into my life it was like my wheelchair didn’t exist, people started talking to me and including me. Suddenly I was a part of society. Molly did that. She broke down the barrier between the able and disabled for me. I now feel included, wanted and important and the bond between us is unbreakable.”

    Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, Radley and Konrad Galen-Bisping, from Carmarthenshire
    0844 646 0203 - Watch their video HERE

    Konrad and RadleyRadley gave former Lance Corporal Konrad his independence again after he tragically lost his sight. Konrad was blinded after being attacked with an axe by a soldier during a training exercise, leaving him with memory problems and destroying his promising career in the army.  After the incident Konrad found himself plunged into a newly dark world and would physically shake at the prospect of having to leave his room. But after meeting guide dog Radley, Konrad’s self-confidence began to grow, and the pair built a rapport which allowed him to live a normal life again. Now Radley goes everywhere with Konrad and they even attend a gym together where Konrad met his now wife, Siwan.

    Konrad, aged 37, said: “Before I had Radley, I didn’t want to go out at all. He has had a major impact on my life and completely turned it around. He gave me more confidence and has made me realise it’s not all bad out there. He’s truly is my best friend.”

    Labrador, Velvet and Lottie Wilcocks from Ripponden, West Yorkshire
    0844 646 0204 - Watch their video HERE

    Lottie and VelvetJust after she was born Lottie Wilcocks underwent nine hours of major surgery and since then has also had bowel and bladder operations. Mum Tracey, a Macmillan Nurse, found out when she was pregnant that Lottie had spina bifida and hydrocephalus.  Lottie will never walk and has no sensation below mid-thigh; she can’t feel her knees, shins or feet and gets around only in a wheelchair.

    Assistance dog Velvet came into her life two years ago and turned it around; with Velvet’s help Lottie can be an ordinary schoolgirl like her friends. Not only does Velvet help her open doors and drawers, switch on lights and pick up dropped items, she also knows the ‘speak’ command and can fetch the phone if Lottie falls out of her wheelchair and needs help.  During Lottie’s hospital visits it is Velvet that keeps her calm. The pairing has given Lottie a huge boost in self-confidence and the aspiring Paralympic athlete who represents the North West in road and track wheelchair races, now leads a full and active life.

    Lottie said: “Velvet is my best friend. I can’t imagine life without her. She comes everywhere with me and gives me the confidence to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do without her. She is the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of night.”

    Mastiff/Great Dane cross, Jessie and Julie Barrett from Beer, Devon
    0844 646 0205 - Watch their video HERE

    Julie and Jessie Jessie had a horrendous start in life after being physically abused. She had cigarette burns on her legs and ears and her nose had been slashed.

    She was rescued from a lock-up shed after neighbours alerted the police to her crys. The rescue came at just the right time for Jessie but also for her new owner, Julie Barret, who was at her lowest ebb just before Jessie entered her life. Struggling with the daily symptoms of diabetes, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and other painful conditions, she then lost her father, and Julie was struggling to cope.

    Julie, aged 33, said: “When Jessie came into my life I was at my lowest point but it felt like my problems were nothing compared to the abuse that she had endured. I put all of my energy into making sure that she was happy and healthy and she gave me a new reason for living. Now, if I am upset or crying, Jessie licks away my tears. I have never known such a loyal, loving and trusting dog.  Despite everything she has been through she loves and trusts everyone and I often ask myself who saved who.”


    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The dogs that have made the final of the Crufts Friends for Life competition are all truly inspirational and 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.

    “People can vote for the story that touches them the most and the winner will be announced on the final night of Crufts. Of course, each and every one of the dogs has helped to change and save their owner’s life in their own unique and special way.”

    The winner of the Friends for Life competition will receive £1,500 and the other finalists will receive £750, all for their chosen charities. These will be: Steven and Molls, Medical Detection Dogs; Lucy and Molly, A.I.D for Dogs; Konrad and Radley, Guide Dogs and Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen; Lottie and Velvet, Dogs for the Disabled and Julie and Jessie, Dogs 4 Adoption.

    Voting lines are open now and will close on Sunday 9th March. Calls cost 5p from a BT land line.  Calls from other networks may vary and from mobiles will cost considerably more.  Voting closes at 7.30pm on Sunday 9th March 2014.  Details and terms at

    All photos by onEdition/The Kennel Club.

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    February 9th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    Unlike our previous two exhibitors, Rebecca has been to Crufts multiple times before. Having been a member of the Young Kennel Club (YKC) for six years, she is currently working on her dissertation in Human Geography at The University of Salford.  (Her focus is to understand how dog training clubs contribute to a sense of community and the development of social capital.)

    Rebecca first attended Crufts in 2008, when she competed in the YKC grooming competition with her late Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It was at that show that she remembers first seeing the American Cocker: “I’ve been in love with them ever since”. So much so, in fact that she now owns two of them!

    Jasper & Ted

    Rebecca reports that Jasper, whose kennel name is Afterglow Debit Card, is very calm and well behaved in the ring, whereas Ted, or Tricajon Wacky Races, to give him his proper title, is very giddy and playful. Both dogs come from the North of England; Jasper is the handsome black fellow, and Ted is the chap in cream with the big brown eyes.

    “They are a pleasure to own and always make me smile, even if they have been naughty!”

    Hopefully they will be on their best behaviour the second weekend in March. Rebecca, Jasper and Ted will be taking part in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme (GCDS) display team on Friday and competing in the breed showing on Sunday. She reports that her favourite part of Crufts is “just being there”.

    Most of our readers will already know that the American Cocker is not be confused with the regular Cocker Spaniel – they are two very distinct breeds. However they share a common ancestry. When Europeans immigrated to the United States, they took their useful hunting dogs with them. With an entirely different gene pool to mix with over there, the Americans continued to produce a dog which they still utilised and referred to as a Cocker Spaniel, but who looked somewhat different to his British cousins. In fact, the Americans still maintain that theirs is the proper variety; the original Cocker, as we know it, is called an “English Cocker” over there!

    One of the biggest differences between the breeds as far as competitors are concerned is the amount of effort which goes into preparing them for the show ring; American Cockers are presented with a much more stylised appearance. No worries there for Rebecca however; she qualified for the YKC Groomer of the Year competition in 2012 and 2013. We’re sure Jasper and Ted will look their best on the day – they have 128 American Cockers to beat, so we’d like to wish all three of them the best of luck!

    Trivia: No American Cocker has ever won Best In Show at Crufts, but they have taken the title at Westminster (the most prestigious dog show in the United States) four times, most recently in 1954.

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    February 7th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    On Wednesday we met the first of our Crufts 2014 Show Tails exhibitors. Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina and Merlin the German Spitz Mittel, who will be participating in the breed showing on Saturday.

    There will only be 98 German Spitz Mittels at Crufts 2014. They’re quite a rare breed here in the UK – only 82 were registered with the Kennel Club in 2012. The larger of the two German Spitz varieties (the Klein being the smaller), they stand anywhere between 30 and 38 centimetres at the shoulders and are characterised by their double coat, high set, well curled tails and brisk movement. This is a refined and confident breed, which makes an excellent companion.

    Photo Credit: Brenda Bailey, Cool Runners

    However,  like all dogs they can be trouble if not properly stimulated. Thankfully, Merlin, bred under the Zephon affix, is another multi-talented dog. Not only does he compete in the show ring, but he also regularly gets to run off steam as member of the Cool Runners flyball club (based in Kent).  He’s also hoping to try his paw at agility; his big brother Shadow the Labrador participates in this.

    “Merlin is a big dog in a small body; he is agile, clever and very cheeky,” reports Tina, who was first attracted to the breed after meeting them at Discover Dogs. She said she was looking for a small but versatile breed with a long coat which would fit in with her family’s lifestyle and activities. “The first time I met Merlin he climbed up my back and laid across my shoulders and from that moment I knew he was the right dog for me.”

    “He’s a very loving mischievous dog who never fails to make me smile and I wouldn’t change him for the world.”

    This is Tina and Merlin’s first time at Crufts and Tina says that she’s looking forward to taking part, and to watching the flyball competition. “We’ve only just started showing and this is our first time at Crufts so I just want us both to enjoy the experience.” She and Merlin have already had some success at previous shows and can’t wait to let you know how they get on at Crufts.

    Trivia: In other countries, a third size category is recognised; that of a ‘Gross’, or giant, German Spitz. In their native German, Mittel means standard and Klein means toy.

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