Gracie, a crossbreed dog from Alvechurch, Worcestershire, has been named Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts.
Gracie, owned by Alison Hitchins, triumphed over five other dogs in the Scruffts grand finale, which took place at Crufts at the NEC, Birmingham on Friday 6th March.
She was found on the streets, heavily pregnant and, within a week, gave birth to six puppies. The puppies were easily rehomed but no one seemed to want to adopt her. Gracie has now been living with owner Alison for nine years and is a very happy and healthy dog. She takes part in agility, heelwork to music, and is also a Pets As Therapy dog and visits a local hospice every month.
The winner was chosen by Clarissa Baldwin, trustee of Dog’s Trust, and Sunday Express journalist, Stuart Winter. Clarissa and Stuart judged the six finalists on qualities such as good character, health, and temperament with people and other dogs before picking Gracie as the winner.
Gracie’s owner, Alison Hitchins said: “I’m delighted to have won Scruffts as it recognises the value of crossbreed dogs and I am particularly pleased that it was the Golden Oldie category as this highlights the importance of older 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 2014 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 2015 final were:
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. More than 1,300 dogs took part in the Scruffts heats this year, raising over £4,000 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, Gracie also won a year’s supply of healthy hypo-allergenic dog food from James Wellbeloved.
James Wellbeloved marketing manager Anne-Laure Jaouen said: "The Scruffts final is always an amazing event, and as in previous years all six finalists were outstanding, making it a very hard choice for the judges. The stories of these crossbreeds and their owners are all incredible in their own way, but Gracie and owner Alison are deserving winners for 2015 and everyone at James Wellbeloved congratulates them wholeheartedly."
Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has awarded over £8m 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.
For free downloadable images from Crufts 2015, please go to www.w-w-i.com/crufts_2015/.