Cumbria and north Lancashire dogs win top prizes at Crufts

Jane Graham and Rhys

Jane Graham and Rhys

First published in Business The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

CANINES from Cumbria and north Lancashire enjoyed success at Crufts.

Dogs from across the area scooped seven first places, one Best Puppy, three Bitch Challenge Certificates and a prestigious Best in Breed.

Breeders Tom and Jane Graham, of Askam-in-Furness, took six of their nine Welsh, English and Sussex springer spaniels to the annual show in Birmingham, with each of them a success.

It was their Welsh springer spaniel Rhys, five, who won Best in Breed, appearing in the Gundog Group Final on TV.

Rhys also won first in Good Citizens Dog Class, and was awarded the Dog Challenge Certificate.

Their 20-month-old Welsh springer Fero was first in Special Yearling Dog Class, while Sussex spaniel Jake, 3, came first in Limit Dog Class with English springer spaniel Connor, 2, coming first in Post Graduate Dog Class.

Mr Graham, who runs a training class in Pennington near Ulverston, said: “It feels brilliant to win, well worth all the time and effort.”

Also taking Crufts in their stride was Carol Dunford, of Grange-over-Sands, and her training partner Claire Akrigg.

They took their two Manchester terriers three-year-old Polly, who won Bitch Challenge Certificate, and 4-year-old Bertie who came runner up in Open Class.

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Mrs Dunford, who has been going for 23 years, went down the night before with her husband.

She said: “The night before I couldn’t sleep because I get so excited, but the dogs slept like logs.

“The satisfaction that you’ve produced your dog and trained it to such a standard that the judge lets it win is wonderful.”

Pamela Allington, of Yealand Conyers, near Carnforth, won Best Puppy with her one-year-old schipperke, a Belgian barge dog breed.

Mrs Allington has been a judge at Crufts, which she’s been going to for 35 years, and took one of her nine dogs to the competition.

“I felt great, it’s nice to win best puppy anywhere but to win it at Crufts is such an achievement, it’s a bonus.”

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