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 6thMarch.
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:
- Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog - Billy owned by Terri-Anne Walker
from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
- Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch - Wizz owned by Claire Stanton from
- Golden Oldie - Gracie owned by Alison Hitchins from Alvechurch,
- Child's Best Friend - Humphrey owned by Miles Rodwell from
- Best Crossbreed Rescue - Harvey owned by Tracey Toft from
Castleford, West Yorkshire
- GCDS Crossbreed Dog - Blaze owned by Marie Hamlin from
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
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
For free downloadable images from Crufts 2015, please go to www.w-w-i.com/crufts_2015/.