TJ, a cockapoo, has today been crowned winner of the prestigious Westminster Dog of the Year competition.
TJ, who entered the event with Mims Davies, Conservative MP for Mid-Sussex, impressed the judges with their loveable character and loyalty.
Westminster Dog of the Year took place today in Victoria Tower Gardens, in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.
Organised by Dogs Trust and The Kennel Club, the event is an opportunity for MPs to showcase their four-legged friends, celebrate the unique role dogs play in society, and raise awareness for key canine issues.
TJ showed dogged determination as he battled it out to defeat many ‘paw-litical’ opponents to win the coveted title of Westminster Dog of the Year – arguably the most sought–after accolade in British politics. The MPs who took part campaigned hard, canvassing for votes from their constituents before meeting the expert judges to share their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of devotion.
This year’s Westminster Dog of the Year 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.
Winning MP, Mims Davies said of their winning moment:
“We are overjoyed, this is TJ's first foray into the wonderful Westminster Dog of the Year competition.
“We are very proud of TJ, he has performed brilliantly today. There was huge com-pet-ition. Congratulations to James and Anna and their beautiful dogs.
“We couldn’t be prouder of TJ, he has been a real star”
The judging panel – Dr Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Mark Beazley, Chief Executive at The Kennel Club, and 2021 Westminster Dog of the Year runner up, Edward Timpson MP, spent the morning with dogs from different political persuasions and ambitions.
Dr Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, said:
“I’d like to thank all the MPs, and their canine companions, for entering Westminster Dog of the Year 2023.
“It has been wonderful seeing the interactions between dogs and humans. It is never easy to choose a winner – and this year has been particularly difficult. Many congratulations to TJ and Mims Davies MP for claiming this year’s title.
“Westminster Dog of the Year is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the unique role dogs play in society and to raise awareness for key canine issues – such as responsible dog ownership.”
Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Kennel Club added:
“Well done to TJ and Mims Davies MP for their well-deserved win today. The level of competition was particularly high this year, and the strong bonds between all the MPs and their dogs was clear to see, so they should be very proud of their victory.
“There is nothing quite like the love and loyalty that a dog provides, and this event is all about celebrating the relationships we have with our amazing four-legged friends – whatever your ‘paw-litical’ persuasion.”
Edward Timpson MP, 2021 Westminster Dog of the Year runner up, added:
“I’d like to congratulate TJ and Mims Davies MP on being crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2023.
“It was an absolute pleasure judging this year’s event alongside Paula and Mark. All of the participants should be very proud of themselves.
“Having entered the competition in 2021 with my Border Terrier Stanley, I know how important Westminster Dog of the Year is.
“Not only is it a fantastic way to showcase the unique bond between MPs and their dogs, but it is an important platform from which to raise awareness of canine issues, including responsible dog ownership.”
Leading the opposition in second place was Cadi, a cocker spaniel who entered with Anna McMorrin, Labour MP for Cardiff North, while third place was awarded to Bertie, a black Labrador who entered alongside James Delaney, Conservative MP for Bury North.
Elsewhere, the Sir David Amess Pawblic Vote was won by Paco, a cavalier King Charles spaniel who entered with Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury.
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.