Antonia Leech with her dog Elvis, a five year-old Basenji, from Milton Keynes won the Young Kennel Club Handler of the Year award at Crufts on Sunday 13th March.
The competition, which was open to Young Kennel Club (YKC) members from the ages of 6-24 years and their dogs, saw top young handlers compete for the sought after title of YKC Handler of the Year before Antonia and Elvis took first place in the YKC ring.
18 year-old Antonia said of her fantastic achievement: "I'm absolutely elated, I just can't believe it. The standard of competition was ridiculous; it was just so high which makes it extra special. It certainly makes me feel great and it was a complete surprise."
To reach the Crufts final, YKC members competed in age appropriate categories: 6-11, 12-16 and 17-24 years. Junior handling qualifiers were held across the country throughout the year and the first place in each age group qualified for their respective finals at Crufts, with Elvis and Antonia winning the ultimate title of YKC Handler of the Year.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: "Congratulations to Elvis and Antonia for winning YKC Handler of the Year. Handler of the Year is a fantastic title to win and no doubt we will see them at Crufts for many years to come."
For further information about Crufts visit www.crufts.org.uk. If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please contact the Young Kennel Club team on 020 7518 1030 or visit www.ykc.org.uk.