Friends for Life finalists announced

The Kennel Club has announced the five hero dogs who will compete in the public vote for the prestigious Friends for Life award at Crufts 2018.

The annual competition at Crufts celebrates the unique relationship people have with their dogs, the important role man’s best friend plays throughout our lives and the support they give us in the face of adversity.

Judges from the Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, have selected five inspiring finalists to go forward for the public vote, with the winner being announced in the Genting Arena at the Birmingham NEC on the final day of Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, on Sunday 11th March. These five dog heroes are just some of the dogs celebrated at the show for the ways that they enrich our lives.

The finalists for 2018 are:

Breed Rescue category

Sir Jack Spratticus the Border Terrier and Vanessa Holbrow aged 47 from Burnham on Sea, Somerset. Jack is a rescue Border Terrier who has completely changed his owner’s life by helping her deal with complex mental health illnesses.

Read their full story here

Child’s Hero category

Waffle and Sarah Mohammadi from Hayes. Waffle is a hearing dog who has become the ‘ears’ for his young owner and helped her reconnect with everything around her.

Read their full story here

Extraordinary Life of a Working Dog category

Taz the Border Collie and Gayle Wilde aged 39 from Lanarkshire. Taz is a search and rescue dog who has spent his life working in adverse conditions to help find missing persons, from murder enquiries to a helicopter crash. 

Read their full story here

Hero Assistance category

Griffin and Clare Syvertsen, aged 29 from Northolt. Griffin has become a lifeline for a lady with Ehlers Danlos syndrome and undertakes over 100 different tasks for his owner, from picking up the phone to loading and unloading the washing machine. 

Read their full story here

Man’s Best Friend category

Buttons the Shih Tzu and Hannah Gates aged 19 from High Wycombe. Buttons taught himself how to be an assistance dog and has given unending support to his owner through serious illness and given her a new life to look forward to.

Read their full story here

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Dogs play such a significant role in our lives. Every day there are dogs out there saving lives in war zones, giving confidence and independence to those with disabilities, and showing remarkable bravery and loyalty as pets.

“Friends for Life, the final of which is held on the world’s largest dog stage at Crufts, is an opportunity to celebrate these dogs that quietly go about changing people’s lives in their own unique and special way. We had some fantastic nominees this year from all over the UK so choosing just five finalists was incredibly tough. All of this year’s finalists are incredibly worthy winners, and all share a very special relationship with their pets. We would encourage people to vote for their favourite to show their support for these extraordinary dogs. Dogs are known as man’s best friend and our five finalists go to show exactly why that is.”

The winner of the Friends for Life competition will receive £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the dog charity of the choice, with the other finalists receiving £1,000 for their chosen dog charity.

The public can now vote for their favourite finalist until midday on Sunday 11th March, by visiting

The winner will be revealed in the Genting Arena at Crufts on Sunday 11th March at 5.20pm.

You can see a list of all the shortlisted entrants here.

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