The Young Kennel Club (YKC) have seen a number of major successes at Crufts this year, both in and outside of the YKC ring, with a number of major wins for its young members including Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year, International Junior Handling and Junior Warrant Winner of the Year.
One of the major wins was fourteen year-old YKC member Joshua King and his German Shepherd Dog/Border Collie cross Biscuit, who won the Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year title on Saturday at Crufts in front of a huge audience in the Genting Arena at the NEC. Joshua, who lives in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, has been a YKC member since 2014 and regularly competes in YKC competitions with Biscuit. The pair also competed in YKC elementary obedience at Crufts this year.
Joshua has achieved his bronze, silver and gold Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards with Biscuit, and is currently training to become a dog trainer at his local club, the Good Companion Dog Training Club, in Prestatyn. He helps run classes once a week with other trainers, assisting with the training of local dogs.
Aspiring trainer Joshua has been to numerous training days and weekends that the YKC have held over the years, both in obedience and agility. The YKC offers an array of training days, which aim to give young people important skills within different disciplines, whether that’s agility, heelwork to music, grooming, handling or flyball. The training days are all across the UK over the course of the year – for more information on training days and weekends please click here.
Joshua’s mother, Kate King said: “Josh says he learnt a lot from the training days. We went to one in Oxford which Kamal Fernandez (an internationally renowned seminar instructor and championship obedience judge) trained at when Josh first got Biscuit – that day inspired him to do what he does now. It also helped me as I was fortunate to meet a lovely lady who is also the parent of another YKC member, she has given me advice countless times and has also put us in contact with other people so it was a real bonus in that respect.”
It was not just Joshua who wowed the crowds at Crufts. Twenty three year-old Jodi Allen, from Lingfield, Surrey, won the Junior Warrant Winner of the Year competition with her two year-old Rottweiler, Mabel. Dedicated Jodi, who has been a member of the YKC for fifteen years, took to the main arena at Crufts despite having a broken foot.
Jodi attributes her showing success to the YKC, and she and her dogs have won a number of competitions over the years, including YKC Working Stakes overall in 2007, overall winner of the YKC Gundog 17-24 years in 2011 and Best of Breed with her Rottweiler at Crufts 2015.
She commented: “The thing I like most about the YKC is probably the friends I have gained – we help and support each other in and out of the show ring.”
Alongside Joshua and Jodi, sixteen year-old Scarlett Burnside from Saintfield, County Down beat representatives from 43 other countries to win the International Junior Handling competition for Ireland in front of thousands of people in the Genting Arena. Juniors from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and, for the first time, Chile were competing in the final. Scarlett, who has been a YKC member for two years, found that joining the YKC not only introduced her to new people but it gave her more experience to be able to take the coveted prize of International Junior Handler.
Whilst Joshua, Jodi and Scarlett wowed the crowd in the Genting Arena, many other YKC members also had an extremely successful Crufts. These include:
YKC-specific competitions at Crufts saw many inspiring young people and their dogs competing in a number of competitions including Outstanding Young Person, Handler and Groomer of the Year, and Agility Dog of the Year among others.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “What fantastic achievements our Young Kennel Club members have accomplished at Crufts. Every year they continue to impress us with their talent, dedication and passion within the dog world. Congratulations to every one of our members who competed at the show – they all should be very proud of their accomplishments.
“The YKC is such a fantastic start to any dog trainer or dog show handler’s career and we hope that this year’s brilliant achievements inspire other young dog lovers to sign up.”
YKC membership is for anyone aged 6-24 years (with or without a dog, pedigree or crossbreed). It provides and promotes activities that enable members to train, compete and socialise with like-minded youngsters within agility and jumping, obedience, flyball, grooming, heelwork to music, junior handling, pre-beginner and breed showing stakes. For more information on training days available, please visit the YKC website.
The YKC also offers award-based competitions as an alternative to competing in shows. Artist of the Year is a great way to get creative, the Cinnamon Trust Young Volunteer celebrates those who give their time selflessly to others and the Outstanding Young Person award recognises the achievements of inspiring and innovative young people who make a difference for dogs. More information on these awards can be found here.
After a very successful first year in 2016, the YKC will be taking dogs and handlers to the European Open Junior Agility Championships 2017, which will take place from 13th - 16th July in Luxembourg. Although the team for this year has been chosen, members can apply to be in YKC Agility Team GB next year by taking part in selection days in order to impress the coaching team. To find out more information on this year’s championships, please click here.
Crufts took place from 9th-12th March 2017 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, please visit the Crufts website.