Political canine candidate Mabel is crowned Holyrood Dog of the Year

Mabel, a one-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer has today been crowned winner of the prestigious Holyrood Dog of the Year competition.

Mabel, who entered the event with Christine Grahame, Scottish National Party MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, impressed the judges with her loveable character and devotion to her constituents.

Returning for the first time since 2019, the fourth Holyrood Dog of the Year competition, organised by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, took place today in the Scottish Parliament gardens at Horse Wynd, Edinburgh. Mabel, who is owned by Christine’s Office Manager, showed dogged determination as she battled it out to defeat thirteen ‘paw-litical’ opponents to win the coveted title of Holyrood Dog of the Year, arguably the most sought-after in Scottish politics.

The MSPs entering the competition campaigned hard, canvassing for votes from the public before meeting the expert judges to share their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of devotion.

With the boom in dog ownership during the pandemic, this year the event focused on promoting responsible dog ownership, making sure that, alongside the joys of having a dog, owners recognise the responsibility they have to ensure that their pet is a positive member of the community and is able to live a happy and healthy life. Additionally, the competition encourages an open dialogue on dog welfare issues, as well as providing an opportunity for MSPs to meet with experts to discuss all aspects of the canine world.

Winning MSP, Christine Grahame said of being awarded first place: “They’re all winners because the dogs are all wonderful, but the event is really about highlighting animal welfare and dog welfare. I’m bringing a Bill forward in Parliament [Proposed Welfare of Dogs (Scotland) Bill] to make sure people who acquire a puppy, just like Mabel, do their homework first, and from a breeder who makes sure they have the right household and the right lifestyle.

“I want to stop people buying puppies from puppy farms. Mabel is a puppy who had an excellent start to life. She was in a super litter, brought up properly, she was in a happy household. All dogs should have that in their lives.”

The judging panel – Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust Chief Executive; Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive at The Kennel Club and Jeremy Balfour Scottish Conservative MSP for Lothian and 2019 winner - spent the morning with dogs from different political persuasions and ambitions.

Commenting on the reason Mabel was selected as the 2022 Holyrood Dog of the Year, Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust Chief Executive said:

“With the last Holyrood Dog of the Year taking place in 2019, it is wonderful to be back in Edinburgh to celebrate our canine companions. Choosing a winner is never easy as there is no doubt all the dogs are winners, but congratulations to Mabel and Christine Grahame MSP who stood out because of their great work in Parliament together. Thank you to all the MSPs and their devoted dogs for taking part and for making this year’s event so memorable.”

Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive at The Kennel Club added:

“Congratulations to Mabel and Christine Grahame MSP for winning the crown of top dog and their companion at Holyrood today. It was a difficult choice as all the MSPs and their dogs were worthy winners and the competition is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the issues currently affecting man’s best friend.

“We were delighted to meet Mabel, who was a great example of a dog that has been responsibly sourced through a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, and she wowed us with her friendly and affectionate temperament.”

Leading the opposition in second place was Tony, a Cockapoo, owned by Pam Duncan-Glancy, Scottish Labour MSP for the Glasgow region, while third place was awarded to Ollie, a Dogs Trust rescue dog, accompanied by Clare Adamson, Scottish National Party MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw.

In addition to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards, the competition also had a winner decided solely from the public vote which was Bluesy, a Greyhound, accompanied by Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green Party MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife region.