Biscuit, a German Shepherd Dog/Border Collie cross owned by Joshua King from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, has won the Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year title at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts on Saturday 11thMarch.
Two and a half year-old Biscuit was one of six crossbreed finalists in the national Scruffts competition, which saw hundreds of dogs compete in qualifying heats around the country. The six finalists had each won their class at the semi-finals at Eukanuba Discover Dogs in London last October, with Biscuit winning the Good Citizen Dog Scheme category in order to progress to the final.
Joshua, who is a 14 year-old Young Kennel Club (YKC) member, wanted his own dog from a very young age, and campaigned to his mum for the family to get one. In 2014 she gave in and the family went to go see a litter near to their home which had one crossbreed puppy left.
Biscuit, who was the runt of the litter, and Joshua immediately bonded and it was clear to his mother that Biscuit was the dog for him. Since taking him home, the young crossbreed has achieved his bronze, silver and gold Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards and regularly competes in YKC competitions with Joshua.
Joshua 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. His win comes on the same weekend that the Good Citizen Dog Scheme celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Thrilled Joshua said: “I was not expecting to win and I’m extremely delighted about it. I think Biscuit’s potential sets him out from other dogs. He is brilliant with people and loves other dogs as well; he wants everybody to be his best mate.
“Competitions like Scruffts give dogs like Biscuit a chance as there’s no other big competitions available for crossbreeds. This shines a light on crossbreeds which is great because they’re brilliant.
“The atmosphere in the arena was busy and quite nerve-wracking for me, but it was brilliant and Biscuit seemed to take it all in his stride. Crufts is so special because everyone here loves dogs, speaks to each other and are really friendly.”
Two-time Olympic gold medallist rower and family man, Alex Gregory MBE and championship Best in Show dog judge, David Guy judged the six finalists on qualities such as good character, health and temperament with people and other dogs.
On the difficult decision of choosing the winner, Alex Gregory said: “Any one of those finalists could have won but when it came down to it Joshua and Biscuit’s story inspired both of us. He was the whole package.”
David Guy commented further: “The winner is inspirational; he’s young, committed and an example dog owner who, at such a young age, has already given so much back to the canine world.”
The Scruffs 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.
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 1,400 dogs took part in the Scruffts heats this year, raising £4,000 for both the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and each event’s chosen charity. All competitors received a James Wellbeloved goody bag which included tasty treats, toys and a blanket.
The six finalists were:
As well as the Scruffts Crossbreed Family Dog of the Year title, Biscuit received a year’s supply of healthy hypo-allergenic dog food from James Wellbeloved.
James Wellbeloved marketing director Alison Sudbury said: "Congratulations to Biscuit and Joshua for winning Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year – what a well-deserved pair. They are the perfect ambassadors for the extremely well-loved crossbreed community.
“Scruffts is such a fantastic competition and a highlight in the James Wellbeloved calendar. We are proud of all the dogs and their owners who made it through to the final, as well as all the amazing crossbreeds who entered into heats across the country last year. We look forward to welcoming more loveable crossbreeds and their owners at the 2017 heats.”
Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has awarded over £10 million 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.
To enter one of the 2017 heats, please visit the Crufts website to find one near you.
Catch Biscuit and Joshua, the other finalists and more lovable crossbreeds in Scruffts: Britain’s Favourite Dog which will be airing on Channel 4 on Friday 17th March at 8pm.