Young Dog Owners' dreams to be realised at Crufts

On Sunday 8th March at Crufts, three Young Kennel Club (YKC) members will be presented with the Shaun McAlpine award, the highest level of achievement for young dog owners.

For the last 20 years, Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy and awards at Crufts at the NEC, Birmingham, in memory of their son Shaun who was tragically killed in a road accident two weeks after his 22nd birthday in November 1984.

The trophy is awarded annually to encourage young dog owners to become more involved in dog activities, as Shaun himself had achieved considerable success with his Great Dane, Ch Dicarl Tendellie, and also acquired a reputation as a talented dog handler.

The Shaun McAlpine Award is the highest award for members of the Young Kennel Club, encouraging young people to embark on exciting, challenging and most of all fun activities within the canine world. The award is based upon personal and social development and is not a competition against others.

Awards are presented in three age groups, Under 12 years, 12-18 years and Over 18 years, with an overall winner then chosen. All of the winners attending the special awards ceremony at Crufts will receive a commemorative medal and assistance in making their dog-related dream come true.

The winners for 2009 are as follows:

Linzi Follet – Winner of the over 18 category and overall winner
Linzi Follet, aged 19, wrote to the YKC to ask them to try and help arrange an opportunity so that she could gain knowledge and advice from Eileen Ayling, a Kennel Club accredited Gundog trainer. Linzi also wanted to learn more about the Kennel Club Accreditation Scheme for Instructors in Dog Training and Canine Behaviour.

Linzi is being given the chance to spend time shadowing Eileen to learn more about Gundog training, so that in the future she can set up her own training classes and pass her knowledge onto others wanting to do more with their companion dogs. Linzi is currently studying full time for an Animal Behaviour and Welfare degree, and she also works part time as a hydrotherapist.

Linzi said, “I was not born into dogs, although I had pet dogs growing up. Now I have a passion and cannot imagine a dogless life. I was given a chocolate Labrador when I was fourteen years old and Lucy is my inspiration and is fantastic.”

Rebecca Ashworth – Winner of 12-18 category
Rebecca, who is 17 years old, would like the opportunity to improve her photography skills with an experienced dog photographer. This would then enable her to publish a book of photographs of dogs, helping to train others and raising awareness and money for animal charities.

Rebecca said, “I would like to bring the smaller corners of the dog world to life and shed light upon the different activities. I would love to see the faces of those who work so hard rewarded with recognition and publicity.”

Beth Poulter – Winner of the under 12 category
Beth, who is aged 11, went to Crufts for the first time last year and was inspired by the YKC competitors. She decided that she wanted to take part in Crufts with her dog.

Beth asked the YKC to help her to improve her agility skills by arranging a day with a professional agility trainer as she hopes to have a career involved with dogs and succeed in competitive agility to a high level.

Beth said, “I love the competition that dogs bring out in me but more so the companionship and loyalty. I love agility so much and having agility sessions with a professional trainer could change my life and develop a deeper relationship with my dog.”

If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join, or if you are a Young Kennel Club member and are interested in finding out how you can apply for the Shaun McAlpine Award, please contact the Young Kennel Club team on 020 7518 1030 or visit

For further information about Crufts, a celebration of happy, healthy dogs, please visit