Cavalier King Charles Spaniel hailed nation's most obedient breed

A team of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels won the Obreedience competition at the world’s biggest dog event, Crufts on Thursday 9 March.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel team, named the Wagtails, proved themselves more obedient than the nine other breed teams that made it to the final at Crufts, held at the NEC in Birmingham. The other finalists were as follows:

Golden Acorns – Golden Retrievers

The Labrapaws – Labradors

Manchesters Reunited – Manchester Terriers

The Super Novas - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

The Russellers – Jack Russell Terriers

The Collieflowers – Border Collies

Shepherds Delight – German Shepherd Dogs

Stafford Stars – Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Hugabern – Bernese Mountain Dogs

Obreedience, an exciting team obedience competition, was introduced at Crufts 2014 as a special display event. Now in its eighth year as an official competition, Obreedience continues to grow and entertain the crowds that come along to support their favourite breeds.

The winning team members were:

Ann Fawcett with Stuie (Vonnyisle Ice Lord)

Sam Smith with Willow (Glenbrows Lucy) from Sevenoaks, Kent

Janette Ross with Buddy (McKenzie Cepheus RL3 EX) from Bedworth, Warwickshire

Jennifer Dearlove with Autumn (Kathysgirls Hazel) from Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Maggie Dawson with Violet (She’s No Shrinking Violet Rw) from Watlington, Oxfordshire

Sam Smith with Willow (Glenbrows Lucy) from Sevenoaks, Kent (Reserve)

The team’s captain Sue Pinkham said of the team win: “It’s absolutely fantastic – it’s our third time here and on the last two occasions, we came third, but to win today is just absolutely brilliant.

“Crufts is always such an unbelievable atmosphere, the camaraderie between everyone, everyone watching and the spirit of it all - you just can’t beat it!

“Providing we get through the heats and qualify as one of the top ten teams, we’ll absolutely be back again next year.”

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Congratulations to all the Wagtails team on a highly deserving win. The team were a fantastic example of highly trained, obedient dogs and the bond between each dog and their owner as well as well as the comradery within the team was incredibly heartwarming to see.

“The Obreedience competition is a brilliant way to show off the fact that any breed, given the right training and socialisation, and of course patience from their human counterparts, can do well in competitive obedience. We look forward to seeing which breeds excel in Obreedience at the heats being held throughout 2023.”

Each Obreedience team comprised four handlers and dogs, who took part in two rounds.  The first was a heelwork round completed as a group, with the dogs being assessed on their ability to complete different moves whilst remaining synchronised with their team mates. The second round featured four set exercises and each member needed to successfully complete one of the four different exercises. Points were deducted for any faults and the team with the most points won. The exercises were a retrieve (handler’s own article), a send to bed, stop the dog, and scent over articles.

For further details about Obreedience, please visit this page.  

Crufts takes place from 9 -12 March 2023 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information and results from the show, visit the Crufts website.