Scruffts is the nation’s favourite crossbreed competition and is a great way to enjoy time with your dog and family. A crossbreed is a dog of mixed blood, whose parents are of two different breeds, or a mixture of several breeds. Whilst Scruffts is a fun competition, opportunities are taken to stress the important messages relating to responsible dog ownership. Throughout the year, heats of the popular Scruffts contest, which is supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved, take place at events around the country in search of crossbreeds with that extra special something.
This year’s Scruffts competition attracted over 1,300 crossbreeds and their owners, but just six have made it all the way, winning a place in the final at Crufts for the Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year.
This year’s finalists are:
Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog: Milo the Anatolian Shepherd/German Shepherd cross, owned by Charley Henkey from Reading, Berkshire
Milo is Charley’s first dog of her own, despite growing up with them in her family. Milo was rescued from Europe, presumed to be from the streets of Romania, but was brought over to the UK to be rehomed whilst at a kennel in South Mimms, Hertfordshire. Despite seriously considering rehoming him, Charley’s mum soon pointed out that Milo would grow to a very large size, and managed to convince her not to take him. However, Milo made a big impression on Charley as she dreamt about him all the following night. She called the kennels at 9am the following morning and picked him up a couple of weeks later.
After their win, Charley said: “It’s an absolutely amazing feeling to have won – I’m so excited to be a part of Crufts next year with my best friend.”
Good Citizen Dog Scheme: Jack the Shih tzu/Maltese cross, owned by Young Kennel Club owner Josie Baldwin from Deal, Kent
Josie, who has wanted a dog for many years, was finally allowed one when she was twelve as long as she trained him properly. Shortly after attending puppy classes she began taking him to Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme (GCDS) classes, where she achieved her bronze, silver and gold awards. She also competes in competitive obedience and agility with Jack.
After their Scruffts win, Josie said: “I’m lost for words, it’s so amazing!”
Golden Oldie Crossbreed: Missy the Bearded Collie cross, owned by Anna Drinkwater from Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire
Anna found Missy on a private rescue website aged 11 months, and she was Anna’s third rescue dog. Anna has always preferred to rehome or foster unwanted dogs to give them a second chance at life as so many are either put to sleep or live out their lives in kennels.
After their Scruffts win, Anna said: “I’m overwhelmed and can’t quite believe it! I love Crufts and to actually be in it is amazing.”
Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch: Hattie the Irish Setter/Welsh Collie cross, owned by Hanna Cunningham from Plymouth, Devon
Hanna and her partner got Hattie after they fell in love with the crossbreed. Hanna grew up with the setter breed in her family, whilst her partner had collies. Once they met Hattie, a cross between their two family breeds, they knew she was the perfect dog for them.
After their Scruffts win, Hanna said: “I’m happy, shocked and so looking forward to seeing everything at Crufts. Discover Dogs has been one of the biggest events we’ve ever been to, and we’re so excited for Crufts.”
Child’s Best Friend: Rufus the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle cross, owned by twelve year-old Dylan Kirke from Newport, South Wales
Dylan and Rufus have been inseparable ever since the family picked him up over a year ago. His parents wanted Dylan to always have a companion to come home to after school, and decided that a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle cross was the right breed for their lifestyle. Dylan chose Rufus out of the litter and ever since they’ve been best friends. Rufus also never leaves the side of Dylan’s new two month-old brother Maxen – he is very much a part of the family.
After their Scruffts win, Dylan said: “I feel amazing – this is such an achievement for us! Rufus is my best friend and I’m glad the judge could see the bond we have. I can’t believe that I get to take him to Crufts – we watch it every year and now we get to take part. I can’t believe it!”
Best Crossbreed Rescue: Honey the Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, owned by Emma Williamson from South London
Emma, who is a clinical psychologist working with the homeless in Lambeth, rescued Honey after she was repeatedly rehomed by a number of different families. Despite her loving nature, Honey was nervous after being unsuccessful finding her forever home. Emma has worked with Pets As Therapy (PAT) dogs in previous roles with children and people with head injuries but, recognising the benefits, had wanted to introduce a PAT dog into her current team to help put homeless people at ease with the psychologists.
After their Scruffts win, Emma said: “I am amazingly proud of Honey to have won the semi-final at Scruffts, as well as gaining recognision for therapy work with homeless people. It is also fantastic recognition of the lovely nature Staffies have, despite their bad reputation.”
James Wellbeloved is the sponsor of the competition - generously supplying the winners of each heat with delicious James Wellbeloved goodies for their dog. Alison Sudbury, Marketing Director for James Wellbeloved said: “Scruffts is such a great competition and truly celebrates the love between owner and canine."Visit the James Wellbeloved website
Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has awarded over £9m worth of grants to benefit dogs 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. More than 1,800 dogs took part in the Scruffts heats this year, raising £1,900 for both the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and each event’s chosen charity.Find out more about the Kennel Club Charitable Trust