Quartet of agility stars crowned champions at Crufts

Four dogs and their handlers from Warwickshire, Lincoln and Cumbria, have won one of the country’s most prestigious agility competitions after triumphing in The Kennel Club Agility Championships, which are sponsored by YuMOVE, at Crufts on Thursday 9 March and Sunday 12 March.

Large, intermediate, medium and small dogs and their handlers who had won an Agility Challenge Certificate at a championship show in 2022 took part in the Championships, competing against the top dogs from around the country.

Martin Reid, aged 29, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, won in The Kennel Club Agility Championships for small dogs with Selfie, his Shetland Sheepdog, and for large dogs with Shape, his Border Collie.

Proud owner Martin said: “It's pretty amazing. I am still in a bit of disbelief from winning the large agility the other day so today has made it even more wild. It was really close but I didn't watch anyone else, I was just focusing on myself.

“Winning feels amazing, it’s perfect and unexpected. I’ve competed here for many years, but we’ve never won any of the big events here. It feels crazy, I’m still in disbelief.

“It’s amazing to compete at Crufts. It’s been really busy and lots of cheering from the crowd which is good.”

Tiger, a Minature American Shepherd, and owner Toni Dawkins from Chapel Hill, Lincoln, won The Kennel Club Agility Championships for medium dogs.

Proud owner Toni said: “To win here is always amazing! I’ve won Crufts with two different Collies in the past before, so this is my third dog to win here. It feels just as special, especially with a new dog that has never been here before to run this class.

“Tiger is amazing at agility, she gives you 100% and she is the same to live with, she’s noisy and crazy but makes up for it.

“I love being one of the older competitors because I still feel like agility is for everybody. I’ve been involved with agility for 30 years, my mum got me into it as she did agility, she is 72 and still does it! I’ve kept doing it because there is a thrill every time you get on the line to run a dog, it’s the excitement of running, it’s just mad and it is better at Crufts than anywhere else!”

Gamble, a Border Collie, and owner Steven Richardson from Carlisle, Cumbria, won The Kennel Club Agility Championships for intermediate dogs.

Proud owner Steven, who has been attending Crufts since 1999, when he was six years old, said: “I’m over the moon, I can’t believe it. It’s one of the events I’ve never won on the agility calendar, so to come here with Gamble our second time together, it feels amazing.

“Gamble loves it. She doesn’t want anything other than to run as fast as she can all the time.”

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Congratulations to all four winning dogs and their owners for their fantastic performance in the arena.

“All of the finalists that have taken part in the Agility Championships this year should be extremely proud of all their accomplishments in reaching this stage in the most prestigious of all the agility competitions at Crufts and all showed high level of skill in their performances.”

Crufts took place from 9-12 March 2023 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information and results from the show, visit crufts.org.uk.