There were celebrations in Westminster today (14 September 2023) as Paco, a nine-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, owned by Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, emerged victorious as the winner of the 'Sir David Amess Pawblic Vote', after being voted for by the public as part of the Westminster Dog of the Year competition.
The annual competition, organised by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, took place in Victoria Tower Gardens, in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament, and provided an opportunity for MPs to engage with experts to discuss all aspects of dog welfare and highlight the important role dogs play in society. This year the event focused on the theme of responsible dog ownership and how, through training, socialisation and responsible owner behaviour, we can help all dogs live happy and healthy lives.
Paco’s win followed a well-fought social media battle for victory, with MPs campaigning hard to canvas for votes from the public, before beating 18 paw-litical opponents to be chosen as the people’s favourite in the ‘Sir David Amess Pawblic Vote’. The award is named in memory of the late Conservative MP who was a staunch advocate for the competition and had campaigned tirelessly to improve and protect dog welfare throughout his life.
Winning MP, Rosie Duffield, said of the pair’s success: “I’m just so excited and thrilled to win the Sir David Amess Pawblic Vote, I can’t believe it. There’s some really lovely dogs who have been competing today and some amazing winners, so I didn’t expect to win at all, and neither did Paco, he’s overwhelmed!"
Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Kennel Club said: “Westminster Dog of the Year is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the issues affecting dog welfare, and to promote responsible ownership, and I would like to thank all the MPs and their dogs for taking part today.
“Many congratulations to Rosie Duffield MP and Paco for winning the public’s hearts and emerging victorious in the Sir David Amess Pawblic Vote. It is a terrific achievement and it is clear to see that the pair have a very strong bond.”
Dr Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director at Dogs Trust added: “Well done to Paco and Rosie Duffield MP for their well-deserved win. There has been some tough competition this year, but the pair are worthy winners. Thank you to all the MPs and canine companions who entered this year’s competition."
The overall victor in Westminster Dog of the Year 2023 was TJ, a Cockapoo, owned by Mims Davies, Conservative MP for Mid Sussex. The pair were chosen by the judging panel, comprised of Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Kennel Club, Dr Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, and 2021 Westminster Dog of the Year runner-up, Edward Timpson MP. Second place was awarded to Cadi, a Working Cocker Spaniel, and Anna McMorrin MP, while Bertie, a Labrador, and James Daly MP took third place.
For more information about Westminster Dog of the Year visit thekennelclub.org.uk/wdoty