Young Agility star from Lincolnshire crowned winner at Crufts

Maddie, a six year old Working Sheepdog, and Sophie Atkinson, 14, from Billinghay, Lincolnshire have won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Agility Dog of the Year at Crufts on Thursday 5th March.

The competition, which was open to YKC members aged from six to 17 and their dogs, saw top young agility handlers compete for the coveted title of YKC Agility Dog of the Year before Sophie and Maddie (Fenland Mad Star) triumphed in the Resorts World Arena at the NEC, Birmingham.

Sophie said: “I am very proud of Maddie. It is my first year at Crufts so I wasn’t expecting such a big success. It feels amazing.

“She is a very calm and loving dog and she is excellent at agility because she is very obedient. I discovered agility through the YKC and it is definitely something I want to do more of it in the future.”     

To reach the Crufts final, YKC members competed at qualifying classes in their categories for under and over 12s, and for small, medium and large dogs, looking to complete an agility course in the fastest time.

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Huge congratulations to Maddie and Sophie for winning YKC Agility Dog of the Year. It is a fantastic achievement which will no doubt inspire other young dog handlers in the UK. I am sure we will be seeing more of them at Crufts for years to come.”

If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please email our YKC team or visit Crufts takes place from 5th – 8th March at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, please visit