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 7th 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 www.scruffts.org.uk.
Weekday tickets for Crufts 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. 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 www.crufts.org.uk.