Bella, a Lurcher cross owned by Helen Lewis from Stoughton,
Guildford has won the Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year title
at the world's greatest dog show, Crufts, yesterday.
Bella was one of six crossbreed finalists in the national
Scruffts competition which saw hundreds of dogs compete in
qualifying heats around the country, with all six finalists then
winning their category at the semi-finals at Eukanuba Discover Dogs
in London last October. Bella had won the Best Rescue category to
progress to the final.
Originally a stray from Govan in Glasgow, when Bella was brought
into the Dogs Trust centre at Harefield, Greater London, she was
covered in injuries and had been starved close to death.
Helen came across her after tragically losing her previous dog
Mandy to cancer. Two weeks later Helen took Bella home, where she
underwent a lot of necessary training to combat the social and
behavioural issues she suffered as a result of her terrible start
in life. With a lot of dedication and tender loving care, Bella
transformed in to an impeccably well-behaved and loving dog.
Helen, who suffers with complex health issues, relies a great
deal on Bella to help her get through difficult times and believes
she would not be here without her. Inspired by her friendship and
bond with Bella, Helen has since decided to change careers in order
to train as a dog trainer.
Proud owner Helen said: "I don't believe it, I'm speechless.
Crufts is really something special, it's not just a dog show, it's
so much more as proved yesterday. I can't believe it!"
Special guest judge, famous author and dog lover, Jilly Cooper
judged the six finalists on qualities such as good character,
health and temperament with people and other dogs.
Jilly Cooper commented on Bella and Helen's story: "It was just
such a lovely story and was wonderful that they have both managed
to find each other - simply amazing. It was so awful what Bella has
had to go through, they were worthy winners."
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.
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 1,800 dogs took part in the
Scruffts heats this year, raising £1,900 for both 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.
The six finalists for the 2016 final were:
- Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog - Hugo owned by Karen Kalaway from
- Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch - Beau owned by Diane Taylor from
- Golden Oldie - Icey owned by Val Philips from Croydon
- Child's Best Friend - Roxy owned by Olivia Lawrence from
- Best Crossbreed Rescue - Bella owned by Helen Lewis from
- GCDS Crossbreed Dog - Fergus owned by Kathryn Hoffman from
Burgh Le Marsh
As well as the Scruffts Crossbreed Family Dog of the Year title,
Bella also received a year's supply of healthy hypo-allergenic dog
food from James Wellbeloved.
James Wellbeloved marketing director Alison Sudbury said:
"Scruffts at Crufts is the pinnacle of the crossbreed showcase
calendar. With so many fantastic dogs making the finals, we are
most grateful to the renowned author Jilly Cooper for judging this
"We at James Wellbeloved are delighted that Bella and Helen were
named the winners - Bella is a perfect ambassador for the very
well-loved crossbreed community."
Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust,
which has awarded over £9m 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
The results for Crufts 2016 can be found online at www.press.fossedata.co.uk.
For free downloadable images from Crufts 2016, please go to www.w-w-i.com/crufts_2016/.