The Young Kennel Club (YKC) has seen a number of major successes
this year, with over twenty major wins for its young members
including Reserve Best in Show at the world's greatest dog show,
The biggest success was 19 year-old YKC member Charley Donaldson
and her Whippet, Hazel, who won Best in Group in the Hound Group
shortly before returning to the Genting Arena at the NEC in
Birmingham to take the title of Reserve Best in Show in the final
of the 125thanniversary of Crufts on Sunday 13th March. Charley and
Hazel collected her award and rosette in front of a large audience
at the NEC and to millions watching live on Channel 4.
Charley, who has been a YKC member since 2005, has trained with
the YKC for a number of years, including helping with training
weekends, before claiming one of the most sought after prizes at
Charley said: "I can't believe it - I am over the moon. I never
expected this to happen. Hazel is one in a million and I can't
thank enough anyone who has supported us - it really means
everything to me and my family.
"The YKC gave me the confidence to go out there with my dog and
try my best. If it wasn't for them making showing so interesting, I
would never have achieved what I have so I can't thank them
It was not just Charley who wowed the crowds at Crufts. 13
year-old Alicia Hancock from Weston-Super-Mare took first prize in
the medium category of the Kennel Club Novice Cup Agility finals.
Despite being up against agility competitors of all ages, Alicia
and her crossbreed Barney were victorious during the exciting
Alicia, who has been a YKC member since 2012, said of her
fantastic win: "It was an amazing experience to qualify for Crufts
and I am very happy that Barney and I managed to win the Novice
Cup. I am so proud of him - although he was tired he kept
going and was the only medium dog to get a double clear."
Previous YKC members have also found success at Crufts this
year. Adam Rose, who was a YKC member for 14 years, won Best of
Breed with his German Shorthaired Pointer, Morgan. Adam, aged 30,
is now secretary of the Central and Southern GSP Society and puts
his position within the society down to the skills he learnt whilst
he was a YKC member.
His highlights whilst being a part of the YKC include winning
the Shaun McAlpine Junior of the Year award (now called
'Outstanding Young Person'), Young Handler of the Year and winning
the Gundog Stakes, all in 2001. As well as this, he also regularly
helped with the YKC summer camp and training weekends.
Celebrating his third Best of Breed win this year, Adam said of
the YKC: "It's an amazing organisation which really enhanced my
knowledge and interest in dogs. As well as competing and meeting
like-minded people, it really gave me a chance to develop my
skills. This gives heaps of confidence and a real feel you can give
something back to your hobby.
"I can't thank the YKC, and the late Meriel Hathaway who
represented the Midlands region, enough for their support and
opportunities over the years."
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: "Many
congratulations to every Young Kennel Club member who took part in
competitions at Crufts - we're so proud to have so many talented
young people involved in the dog world. The YKC is such a fantastic
start to any dog trainer or dog show handler's career and we hope
that this year's excellent achievements inspire other young dog
lovers to sign up."
YKC-specific competitions at Crufts saw a number of inspiring
young people and their dogs win over a number of competitions
including; Handler and Groomer of the Year, Agility Dog of the
Year, obedience, flyball and many others.
YKC membership is for anyone aged 6-24 years (with or without a
dog, pedigree or crossbreed). It provides and promotes activities
that enable members to train, compete and socialise with
like-minded youngsters within agility and jumping, obedience,
flyball, grooming, heelwork to music, junior handling, pre-beginner
and breed showing stakes. For more information on training days
available, please visit the YKC website below.
The YKC also offers award based competitions as an alternative
to competing in shows. Artist of the Year is a great way to get
creative, the Cinnamon Trust Young Volunteer celebrates those who
give their time selflessly to others and the Outstanding Young
Person award recognises the achievements of inspiring and
innovative young people who make a difference to dogs. More
information on these awards can be found at www.ykc.org.uk/content/our-awards.
Not only that, YKC members can also apply to participate in the
Outward Bound Youth Development Course, which aims to give young
people important skills for the future including teamwork,
confidence, sportsmanship, communication, problem solving, and
leadership and project management. The YKC also offers multiple
training weekends across agility, heelwork to music and handling
all over the UK. More information on training weekends can be found
For the first time ever, the YKC will be taking dogs and
handlers to the European Open Junior Agility Championships 2016,
which will take place on 9th and 10thJuly 2016 in
Slovakia. Although the team for this year has been chosen,
members can apply to be in Team GB next year by taking part in
selection days in order to impress the coaching team. To find out
more information on this year's championships, please visit