Westminster Dog of the Year

Winners of Westminster dog of the year
Geoff Caddick PA ©

Westminster Dog of the Year is a celebration of the unique bond between dogs and their owners. The competition gives parliamentarians the opportunity to highlight the important work that they have undertaken in Parliament on dog related matters, whilst promoting responsible dog ownership. All Members of Parliament are able to enter regardless of ‘pawlitical’ persuasion.  

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, explains: "The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is so much more than a canine beauty pageant. The competition is strictly apolitical; judges will be looking for the dogs' good deeds and devotion to their owner rather than policies or opinions. It is a fun filled day out with an important message at its core – helping to promote dog welfare issues and encourage responsible ownership.” 

Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Kennel Club continued: “Whilst the competition itself is no doubt a light-hearted and fun event, it is also an excellent opportunity to showcase the happiness that dogs can bring to our lives and to raise awareness of the actions that need to be taken – both in Parliament and beyond – to promote responsible dog ownership.” 

This year’s public vote has closed. 

More about why we run this event

Since 1992, the Westminster Dog of the Year competition has enabled The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust to engage with parliamentarians who are passionate about dogs and to identify those who are willing to raise canine issues and policies in Parliament.

The media are invited to watch the politicians show their dogs and raise awareness of key issues which affect canine welfare. Past issues raised include the effects of fireworks on dogs, the importance of dogs training and socialisation and the need to protect access for dog walkers across the UK.

In a bid to win the ‘pawblic’ vote, MPs call for their supporters to vote for their four-legged friends. In conjunction with the public vote, judges also assess the pooches based on their heroic deeds and winning personalities in order to crown the overall winner.

Find out more about the finalists

Sir David Amess and Vivienne

Owner’s name: Sir David Amess 

Constituency: Southend West 

Dog’s name: Vivienne 

Breed: French Bulldog  

Sex: Female  

Age: 3 

Colour: Fawn 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Every time I walk into the room Vivienne throws herself at me, lies on their back with her legs in the air to be tickled. But before that she always brings a toy so she is of a generous, giving nature.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

If I am feeling down, the dog lifts my spirits as she is always pleased to see me and she makes me smile.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Pet theft is a huge problem and more needs to be done to make sure vets check microchips and encourage owners to have their dogs chipped.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Someone who puts their pet’s welfare first but is also aware of their duty to others in cleaning up after their dog and making sure that it is well trained and sociable.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Because she is an enthusiastic supporter of Southend becoming a city! Also, she is political royalty and wears a crown really well.

Fleur Anderson and Toto

Owner’s name: Fleur Anderson 

Constituency: Putney 

Dog’s name: Toto 

Breed: Cavashon  

Sex: Male  

Age: 8 

Colour: White 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

He’s very excited by every new day and every time I return home, he loves us all very much and is just happy to be close to us all the time. He is very calm and chilled and lovely to stroke with all his fluffy hair. Children love him as he looks like a friendly teddy bear.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

He loves life so much that its infectious. He’s so excited by every new day that he makes every day exciting for all of us. My grown up children come back home to visit him (rather than me) so that makes me happy, and I’ve got to know so many more parks and green spaces and my neighbours because of taking him for walks and talking with other dog walkers.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Animal cruelty, access to affordable vets, puppy theft and smuggling, curbing dangerous dogs.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Good shelter and feeding and regular medical checks as well as lots of love. We all take turns to walk Toto regularly, play with him and give him someone to lie on.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

He’s just a brilliant dog. He’s not the kind of dog that would normally win prizes but he represents everything great about having a dog. He’s very loving and lovable and loves visiting constituents. Whenever I take him canvassing or to events, he’s the star of the show.

Lee Anderson and Alfie

Owner’s name: Lee Anderson 

Constituency: Ashfield 

Dog’s name: Alfie 

Breed: West Highland White 

Sex: Male  

Age: We think he is about 13 – he was a rescue dog 

Colour: White 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

He is greedy, stubborn, funny, clever and loves being sat with us and has big ears.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Alfie makes us smile every time we look at him and has bought happiness into our lives in exchange for 3 walks a day.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Dog theft (already working on that); puppy farming – we need to encourage more people to adopt dogs; dog fighting – go to jail; unsuitable dog owners 

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

You have to be able to invest time, love, patience and be prepared to learn new things to be a responsible dog owner. The rewards are great. Put the work in and the benefits you get back are much greater.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Because when Alfie was 11 years old his owner could no longer look after him properly and put him up for adoption. We adopted him as we knew the owner and had taken him for walks as the owner’s health had got worse. We always wanted a rescue dog, and this happened at the right time for us and Alfie. He makes us very happy, and he now has a forever home and Alfie’s story lets people know a dog is never too old to adopt.

Ian Byrne and Bella

Owner’s name: Ian Byrne 

Constituency: Liverpool, West Derby 

Dog’s name: Bella 

Breed: Pomeranian 

Sex: Female  

Age: 1 

Colour: Brown 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Bella is loving, playful and mischievous.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Bella enhances my day-to-day life by being a playful, mischievous and clever girl. She loves to explore the outdoors and is always very loving to her family.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Animal abuse and cruelty, and the theft of puppies and dogs.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Somebody who can give their dog time and attention, always ensure their dog has access to food and fresh water, ensuring their dog has regular exercise, and shows love and affection.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Bella should be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021 because she always puts a smile on everyone’s face who she meets. She loves children and is very affectionate and always alerts her family when she senses danger or a threat to our family. 

Elliot Colburn and Lola

Owner’s name: Elliot Colburn 

Constituency: Carshalton and Wallington 

Dog’s name: Lola 

Breed: Golden Retriever 

Sex: Female  

Age: 2 

Colour: Golden/Yellow/White 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Lola is a dog with more than her fair share of character! Quite apart from her energetic and playful nature, one of my favourite traits is her waking us up in the mornings having found a sock to play with, hold it in her mouth and then give a muffled playful bark to wake us up. But ultimately my favourite thing about Lola is she is such a loving dog, with a real need to give love and show affection to everyone she meets.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

This is a stressful job – there’s no denying it. Some days it can all become too much, but getting home to Lola’s endless energy, bringing you licks, cuddles and her collection of socks – nothing is better to put a smile on your face! She brightens up my every day, and there’s something about that, which I just don’t think you can replicate.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Tackling illegal puppy smuggling and the poor welfare of many pets that have occurred as a product of imports rising during the Covid-19 pandemic. Cracking down on pet theft and associated crimes. Reforming breed specific legislation as it has not reduced hospital admissions from dog bites, it has not improved public safety, and it has not reduced the breeds or types it legislates against; meanwhile, it has compromised the welfare of many dogs that have been seized.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Like every responsible dog owner, I provide what I think every dog should have. A warm home, comfortable surroundings, playtime, regular walks, health checks, grooming, good food and everything else in between. But most importantly, I do my absolute best to ensure Lola knows just how much she is loved and valued as a real part of the family.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

I may be biased, but I think it’ll be hard to find a cuter, happier and bouncier dog than Lola! It’s impossible not to smile when you meet that gorgeous face, the tail that never stops wagging, and her cheeky smile and twinkle in her eye that means she’ll be mischievous, but be loyal to the end of time. Lola hasn’t just brought joy into my life, but the lives of everyone she meets!

Virginia Crosbie and Violet

Owner’s name: Virginia Crosbie 

Constituency: Ynys Môn 

Dog’s name: Violet 

Breed: Cocker Spaniel 

Sex: Female  

Colour: Black 

NOTE: I don’t need my mum (Virginia) to complete this for me. She is so busy that she will never get round to it! I’m filling it in for her because I don’t want to miss out on my chance to steal the limelight! Woofs and wags, Violet x 

What does my mum think are my favourite characteristics? 

Obvs I’m absolutely adorable in every way, but I think she particularly likes my waggy tail (did she tell you that I came second in the waggiest tail competition at the Anglesey County Show this year? She was so proud! I even made it into a local newspaper!! She tells everyone!).  

How do I enhance my mum’s day to day life? 

OMG – it would take hours to list all the ways I enhance her life! But, for example: when she has a down day (I can sense these things because I am a super-intelligent dog) I bound around with my ball in my mouth to make her laugh. I make sure she gets exercise by getting her to take me for walks – which is apparently very good for her mental and physical health. I drop lots of hair and leave muddy paw prints everywhere so she has a good reason to clean the house when no one else will. I use my most endearing look to encourage her to share her food with me, helping to keep her slender. I am very licky which I am sure must help to keep her clean. I also absolutely love her new constituency because there’s loads of fields and beaches to run around on and she is teaching me Welsh on our walks. I think that makes her happy too. 

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Personally, I think that we need much more recognition for the work we do to keep our owners sane! But mum has been banging on about some ten minute rule bill about dogs not running wild in the countryside so I know she’s really into encouraging responsible dog ownership. She’d probably say that was the most important thing. 

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Again, from a personal point of view, a responsible dog owner is one that gives me lots of treats and fuss, feeds me lots of yummy stuff, takes me for six long walks a day, plays for hours with me and my toys, and spends the rest of their time sitting on the sofa giving me strokes and cuddles. 

I’m not sure my mum would fully agree… 

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Clearly my wit, personality, looks and intelligence are the main reasons. But also this recognition would make up for the fact that mum spends all her time out of the house in Westminster and I miss her lots… 

If I win, please could I come to work with her so I can be a proper Westminster dog please? (I am now using my most adorable pleading eyes with my head cocked to one side, it usually works).  

James Duddridge and a Dogs Trust rescue dog

Why have you chosen to enter with a Dogs Trust rescue dog?

Despite not owning a dog (I have three cats!), I am very pro-dogs, and I am running a campaign to get a dog-friendly beach in Southend all year round. I want to help promote the fantastic work Dogs Trust does, promote responsible dog ownership and hopefully help a dog find its forever home.

What are your favourite characteristics in a dog?

Friendly, enthusiastic, intelligent, playful.

Why are dogs the best companion animals?

Because they are loyal pets who are stress busters and make a fantastic addition to a caring household!

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling?

Puppy smuggling. Tougher sentences for animal cruelty

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner?

Somebody who has the time to be able to properly care for the dog, and give it the attention it needs. Owning a dog is a big commitment and any potential owner should ensure they are able to care for a dog for its entire lifetime. As Dogs Trust famously stated - a dog is for life, not just for Christmas!

Why should you and your Dogs Trust rescue dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021?

So we can raise the profile of rescue dogs, show they can make loving pets, and help find dogs that need rehoming a loving forever home.

Dr Luke Evans, Ada and Roux

Owner’s name: Dr Luke Evans 

Constituency: Bosworth 

Dog’s name: Ada and Roux 

Breed: Whippets 

Sex: Both female  

Age: Ada is 1, and Roux is 18 months 

Colour: Ada is white and brindle, and Roux is grey 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Ada: only has one gear, forward! She is a clumsy, very lovable bundle of excitement.  

Roux: has so many personalities, is a complete princess, is inquisitive, and definitely the foreman for leading Ada! 

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Introducing Roux, and then Ada six months later, into day-to-day life has made such a big difference. They are undoubtedly the best companions you could have, and going out to walk them has offered me some much needed downtime!  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

When I began looking for Roux, and then Ada, I saw first-hand the scale of puppy profiteering, and since then, I have raised dog welfare several times in Parliament. I’ve also backed the Dogs Trust’s Puppy Smuggling Taskforce, and I was so pleased to see the recent proposed changes to the law incorporate so many aspects of the campaign. The conditions which some dogs are smuggled into the country in are absolutely heart-breaking, and I’m glad to see it’s an issue which people are becoming increasingly aware of. I’ve also advocated for people to look responsibly when finding their new companion, and shared information on how to buy a puppy responsibly.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

A responsible dog owner should be caring, conscious, and aware of surrounding welfare issues, not just for their dog, but for animal welfare more broadly. When thinking of buying a dog or a puppy, it’s so important that people consider whether they have time to really care for a new companion. After some careful thinking before buying them, I’m so pleased that Ada and Roux have fitted in perfectly!  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Ada and Roux are two of the sweetest companions in Westminster for sure, they’ve also taken to political life perfectly, and are more than happy with all of the attention that comes with it! They’ve also helped to raise awareness of the dog welfare issues which still need tackling, whilst also being completely adorable!

Jonathan Gullis and Bella

Owner’s name: Jonathan Gullis 

Constituency: Stoke-on-Trent North 

Dog’s name: Bella 

Breed: Cavachon 

Sex: Female 

Age: 1.5 years 

Colour: White and brown 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Bella is the one most sensitive soul you will ever meet, who loves to spoon on the sofa and be tucked up in the bed under the duvet and on a nice soft mattress. She can get jealous if Nkita or I pay any attention to another dog but will also shower her love to Nanny because she gets treats. When on a walk she is an adventurer who chases squirrels, runs around forests and up hills like a mountain goat as well as getting very excited when you pick up a stick.   

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

We got Bella back in May 2020, having secured her before we were plunged into lockdown. She made us smile, laugh and happy everyday when we were told to stay home, apart from going for a walk. No matter how sad or stressed you are, she seems to know and will sit on your lap, lick your hand and snuggle up with you. She is our Bella baby and I love her so much.   

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Pet theft is a real concern for me. I want to see a central database for microchips and all microchips scanned and checked upon first visit at least by a vet or a receptionist of a vet. I also believe that for better welfare, dog classes are needed to ensure prospective owners are aware of the challenges and realities that come with being a pet owner.   

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Someone who trains their dog properly, using positive reinforcement, to ensure good basic behaviours and commands are obeyed. A dog owner should have pet insurance, all injections regularly up to date, regular worming and flea treatment and regular brushing to avoid matting. A dog owner should remember that their dog is part of their family, has feelings, emotions and deserves to be loved unconditionally.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Bella should be named Westminster Dog of the Year 2021 because she is fantastic with children, beautiful, kind, loving and just wants to be cuddled. No matter what, she will love you and make you smile. She can also sit, paw, down and leave better than any MP I know.  

Jeremy Hunt and Poppy

Owner’s name: Jeremy Hunt 

Constituency: South West Surrey 

Dog’s name: Poppy 

Breed: Labrador 

Sex: Female  

Age: 9 months 

Colour: Yellow 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Incredibly good natured, loves children and playful! 

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

She is always pleased to see us, brilliant with our three children (aged 7, 9 and 11) and gives you the warmest welcome when you get home from work! She also keeps an eye on all the family when we go for walks, making sure we are all safe.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Dog theft – a big worry for many owners of puppies in lockdown.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

All the practical things matter – vaccinations, regular exercise, consideration for other dog owners and non-dog owners…but in the end the simple quality of kindness is what matters the most.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

If you met Poppy, you would know there is no competition! She is gorgeous on the inside and out…really the kindest, warmest character who gives every bit as much love as she receives. You will love her! 

Cherilyn Mackrory and Kipper

Owner’s name: Cherilyn Mackrory 

Constituency: Truro and Falmouth 

Dog’s name: Kipper 

Breed: Springer Spaniel 

Sex: Male  

Age: 10 

Colour: Black and white 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Calm, loyal, patient, tolerant and accepting of our giant new puppy, tolerant when dressed in a tutu and tiara by our young daughter. Awesome at flushing out pheasants, without a single days training on how to do it, nor has he ever had to ‘work’.  Sits like a guard on a cliff top until his master has finished fishing. Amazingly calm with nervous or boisterous children.  Only barks at the postman (until he gets a biscuit). Literally, the dog to end all dogs!  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Pure joy!  Keeps the blood pressure down! He gives love just because you’re there. I have to exercise every day.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Pet theft; puppy farming and the Dangerous Dogs Act needs looking at. I met the only purebred American Pit Bull in Cornwall. His name is Eric and he was lovely. He can never be rehomed because of his breed, yet other ‘safe’ breeds at the same rescue centre could eventually be rehomed but are actually far more aggressive. We also need to look at temperament.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Obviously looking after the immediate welfare of the dog; adequate food, water shelter, exercise etc.  Also ensuring your dog is polite, happy and a good citizen in that other people in your community are also happy when he’s around.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Because he now has a lolloping lab puppy, taking all the limelight and he’s taken it so well.  Would be great to show some extra love for a solid and steady friend. 

Anna McMorrin and Cadi

Owner’s name: Anna McMorrin 

Constituency: Cardiff North 

Dog’s name: Cadi 

Breed: Working Cocker Spaniel 

Sex: Female 

Age: 3 

Colour: Golden/Copper 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Her smile. Difficult days are made infinitely better when I see her smile on our long walks, our weekends adventures, or at the end of a long day working to improve the lives of people in my constituency of Cardiff North.    

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

She is my constant companion, something we all wish to have. She always makes sure I get outside several times a day to get her and my steps in.   

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

As an owner and a Member of Parliament I am concerned around issues of breeding and licensing. I have also been a long-time supporter of new and tougher sentencing for pet theft. I am glad on the back of collective campaigning efforts we now have a tougher sentence to act as a deterrent and which is reflective of the hugely emotional damage, and not just monetary value, theft causes owners and families.   

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Undertaking responsive training to ensure your dog is easier to handle and safer in public environments. Cleaning up after your dog is essential!      

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Cadi love to meet people and is well known for bringing a smile to everyone she meets on our travels, from Westminster to the campaign trail in Cardiff North. Cadi’s companionship has helped me deal with tougher elements of being a Member of Parliament, and in doing so has meant that I can be a constant source of help to my constituents with their varied and because of COVID19 complex casework – as well as standing up for them in Parliament.    

Maria Miller and Otto

Owner’s name: Maria Miller 

Constituency: Basingstoke 

Dog’s name: Otto 

Breed: Cockapoo 

Sex: Male 

Age: 1 

Colour: Sable 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Otto is a sensitive soul and loves to be loved! Otto will seek out anyone and everyone to fuss him. He loves to spend time with my disabled mother – as long as he is fussed. The online meeting world was a real opportunity that Otto could not pass up. He made his presence felt in Zoom meetings with other MPs. He didn’t quite make it into online debates in Parliament but came close a couple of times!  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Otto and our other dog Ted (who came third in Westminster Dog of the Year show when he was a puppy) are the vital component in our family home. They are always happy to see us, always eager to say hello and always (too) eager to make guests feel at home.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

The need for Police to enforce the law and prosecute owners whose dogs attack others; puppy farming.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Understanding the needs of your particular dog. Every dog is different. 

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Otto is a handsome young dog who loves people to love him. He’s a great companion for us humans and our other dog Ted too. 

Guy Opperman and Zola

Owner’s name: Guy Opperman 

Constituency: Hexham 

Dog’s name: Zola 

Breed: Labrador 

Sex: Female 

Age: 1 

Colour: Fox red 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Her in-depth knowledge of pension policy and passion for rural affairs. Zola is also a very loyal companion who puts up with me on a daily basis! Although she is renowned on the East Coast mainline for her mischievous behaviour. 

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Zola regularly charms Secretaries of State and always helps me prepare for select committee appearances. We also are in desperate need of some good looks for the Instagram, so Zola fills that role as I cannot! The rural lanes of Northumberland would be difficult to leaflet without some help from Zola… she is now a very skilled canvasser (perhaps a future seat is on the cards?). 

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Pet theft is a huge issue that threatens our four-legged friends and it is essential we work to tackle this problem. Guide dogs also play such an important role in society and supporting the work they do is of vital importance, such as the campaign for audio visual on bus services. It is very important that after the surge in demand for dogs during the coronavirus restrictions that they are not neglected now that restrictions have eased.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Lots of love and care is absolutely essential for any dog owner, long walks and lots of cuddles are necessary. Dogs require lots of fresh air and green space, therefore an owner must be committed to ensuring their pet has access to these very regularly, although it sounds simple this often means a huge amount of effort from owners in dense urban areas. 

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Zola is clearly a trailblazer for fox red labs in Westminster demonstrating her worthiness of such a title. She is much loved by MPs and staffers alike for her adorableness and without a doubt would win a landslide in any parliamentary election. 

Sarah Owen and Herman

Owner’s name: Sarah Owen 

Constituency: Luton North 

Dog’s name: Herman 

Breed: Border Terrier 

Sex: Male 

Age: 7 

Colour: Grizzle 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Herman is one of the most easy-going, laid back dogs I’ve ever known, while also playing like a puppy when he meets other dogs. His favourite dogs to play with are Boxers and it is an absolute joy to see him play.   

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Herman isn’t there to enhance my life. He is part of the family. Herman brings love, joy, laughter, cuddles, interesting smells and peace to our family.    

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

The sentences on animal abuse are simply not strong enough and not enforced often enough – the increased number of dogs stolen from owner’s gardens or stolen while on walks show pet theft is sadly no longer a ‘one off.’ We need increased police resources and a genuine political willingness to tackle the underlying causes of pet theft.    

During lockdown we know that the demand for puppies increased – reports show that this has fuelled puppy smuggling and irresponsible breeding. Increased owner education and awareness of what to look out for as well as reporting is often led by brilliant charities and animal welfare organisations, but existing legalisation needs updating to deal with the irresponsible sale of pets online.   

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Someone who will train, love and care for their dog as well as truly accommodating their dog’s needs and not expecting a dog (or any pet) to be an accessory to their life. And one that picks up after their dog!   

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Herman is already a winner in my eyes but I’d love for him to win Westminster Dog of the Year because he taught me how to truly appreciate what is right in front of me – he has the best soul, is the best fun and is a best friend to our family. 

Neil Parish and Kitty

Owner’s name: Neil Parish 

Constituency: Tiverton and Honiton 

Dog’s name: Kitty 

Breed: Labrador Retriever 

Sex: Female 

Age: 7 

Colour: Yellow 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

She is incredibly affectionate, loving and has an optimistic nature.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Kitty provides us with constant support. She cheers us up when we have had a difficult day and is a great stress buster. Her optimistic and playful temperament is a joy to come home to. Her role as ‘cow dog-in-chief’ is also invaluable when carrying out our duties on the farm! 

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

We need to tackle puppy smuggling, ensuring criminal gangs cannot profit from the abuse of young, innocent puppies and unsuspecting prospective owners. We also need to tackle dog theft and work with owners to increase awareness of the crime and educate others on how to keep their precious animals safe. They are, after all, members of the family. Finally, and linking in with the above points, we need to encourage the Government to have a much better data collection process and database for the microchipping of dogs. Only then can we tackle these well organised crimes.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Someone who can look after the welfare needs of the dog and also be able to understand the temperament of the dog.   

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Kitty should be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year because she is an extrovert and would be the p(aw)fect pooch to promote Parliament, not only in this country but across the world.

Selaine Saxby and Henry

Owner’s name: Selaine Saxby 

Constituency: North Devon 

Dog’s name: Henry 

Breed: Labrador 

Sex: Male 

Age: 1 

Colour: Fox red 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

He sings during Zoom calls and likes to run round the house with his food bowl when he’s finished eating.  He also enjoys sitting on my lap watching the TV.  And he’s very lanky as he hasn’t quite grown into his legs yet and thinks he is a greyhound when allowed out to run!  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

He gets me out walking every day and is always delighted to see me and he’s one of the few pictures I can post on social media without receiving a hostile response!  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Puppy smuggling and trade of farmed puppies as there is so much confusion around this issue for first time canine parents. Pet theft is also hugely emotive and more needs to be done. 

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

The same as parenting – ensure dog is well fed, is vaccinated, well exercised, sees vet whenever needed, receives regular flea/tick/worm treatment, clear up after your dog, that your dog is trained and walks on lead if unable to be relied upon off lead.    

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

He is a proper commuting dog and spends half his week in Westminster, half in the constituency and like me has to adapt from city to coast and country each week.  Not every puppy has mastered going down 5 floors in the lift when they need a pee half the week, when only has to go out the back door the other.  He is also desperately happy and a fine example of a much loved, lean working Labrador.  

Paul Scully and Freddie

Owner’s name: Paul Scully 

Constituency: Sutton and Cheam 

Dog’s name: Freddie 

Breed: Labrador 

Sex: Male 

Age: 6 months (7 on the day of the competition) 

Colour: Fox red 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Freddie is so affectionate and so cheeky. He is always looking to do things he’s not allowed to do which makes him great fun to be around.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Freddie has made us get out of the house so much more, especially when the weather is bad. We love taking him for long walks and it helps us with our own emotional wellbeing. In addition, he also comes to school with my partner, a prep school headteacher, every day.   

He is playing a really important part in his training as a therapy dog within the school community. The boys adore him and as he’s calming down, he’s gradually becoming more and more a part of their life. He is great for children who are nervous around dogs because in a controlled environment, they can start to build their confidence and for the boys who love dogs but can’t have one at home, he’s a great alternative.   

Fantastic for the boys when they’re feeling sad or just need someone to talk to because he is so willing to listen and he doesn’t comment or judge them either. So he’s a wonderful addition to so many lives. 

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Dog ownership increased significantly during the pandemic. We need to ensure that there are enough homes for unwanted animals and sufficient information and encouragement for new owners to train, keep and love their dogs. The increase in value of puppies led to reports of thefts and unscrupulous breeding. Tackling both needs to remain a priority.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Lots of attention, regular walks; unlimited supply of love, but also a firm training plan. Managing behaviour at the beginning, helps set the relationship not just between dog and owner but with other dogs, walkers and visitors and keeps the dog safe in busy environments. Clearing up afterwards on walks and ensuring that other animals and people not comfortable around dogs are reassured.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

Freddie should be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year because he is already playing such a huge part in so many children’s lives at such an early age. It would be really wonderful for all the children at school to see him in this position and I’m sure he would be very proud of the honour.  

Tommy Sheppard and Henry

Owner’s name: Tommy Sheppard 

Constituency: Edinburgh East 

Dog’s name: Henry 

Breed: Cocker Spaniel 

Sex: Male 

Age: 8 

Colour: Orange roan 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

He is extremely sociable and friendly, always wanting to be everyone’s best friend. He’s very relaxed and laid back and takes everything, including plentiful visitors, in his stride. He is also a staunch supporter of Scottish independence.  

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

He always brightens up my day, full of enthusiasm from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. Being with him makes the wonderful walks around Edinburgh and the Lothian countryside all the more enjoyable. And in the evenings, he’s great company on the sofa in front of the telly. Like me, he loves a good boxset.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Still more action required to regulate breeding and sale, including outlawing “puppy farms”. I’m also concerned that post-Covid lockdown many dogs acquired as companions may suffer as owners go back to work.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Making a commitment which last for the dog’s life. Finding a regular place the dog can go on holiday when you do – such as nearby friends who have the space and time to look after them. Being on top of the dog’s health and welfare issues – able to spot when he is out of sorts.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

I definitely think Henry should be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year. His love of life and the great outdoors, his warm friendly nature, and his ability to get on with just about anyone. He sets a brilliant example for us all.   

Besides, as Scotland will be an independent country soon, he won’t have many more chances to win in Westminster!  

Amanda Solloway, Alun and Conan

Owner’s name: Amanda Solloway 

Constituency: Derby North 

Dog’s name: Alun and Conan 

Breed: Alun is a Cotton de Tulear, and Conan is a Newfoundland 

Sex: Both male 

Age: Alun is 1, and Conan is 8 

Colour: Alun is white, and Conan is brown 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

Alun is such a friendly dog and he always wants to meet new playmates and run around with them or be fussed over by anyone who will cuddle him. He loves showing off and regularly dances on his back legs to impress people, which often results in everyone wanting to give him a treat. He is a very curious dog who loves to explore new places and play with new things, which has led to him chewing my shoelaces and barking for attention during several Zoom meetings.  

Conan is such a calm and quiet companion. He loves his walks and going out exploring, but he’s equally as happy to spend his day relaxing about the house and in the garden. He’s so loving and friendly and adores being stroked and fussed by passers-by, especially children, and even though he’s a bit small for his breed, he quickly shows everyone that big dogs aren’t something to be afraid of – even if they might cover you in fur. Conan always makes me laugh as, despite having webbed paws, he cannot swim and isn’t especially keen on being in the water…but when he shakes off after getting wet, her covers everyone around him in water.  

Though Alun is a quarter of the size of Conan, he is convinced that he is a Newfoundland as well. Conan loves his little brother Alun, though he is always careful of how much smaller Alun is. 

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

Having someone like Alun around you who has boundless and endless energy, who can find the happiness in anything and who will often do ridiculous things in the name of having fun means that, if I’m having a difficult or stressful day, I cannot help but smile at his hilarious antics. But perhaps his most enhancing quality is that he’s also really well behaved and loves to walk by my side, so I can take him with me on group dog walks and into my constituency office, where my staff absolutely adore him.  

Conan has been my companion for such a long time, and every day I see him I find myself smiling with joy – he just makes me so happy. He’s such a big softie and so gentle with everyone. More than anything, Conan loves being given attention and I love giving him attention, so we really are the perfect pair.  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

I think the biggest issue affecting dog welfare is pet theft. I’m so worried to hear that instances of pet theft may be on the rise and I cannot imagine what it must be like for owners who have had their pets taken from them. I’m so pleased to see the Government taking action to help combat this truly awful crime.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

You need to make sure you are prepared and have done all your research about the breed you are getting. It’s so important to be aware of what temperament your dog is likely to have, what size they will grow to, how much exercise they need, any dietary requirements and any common problems or illnesses that may be common with the particular breed you want, so that you always know what to look out for.  

This information is just so important, especially when considering a dog like Conan who needs extra water when it is warm and extra space to move about in due to his size.  

A responsible owner will know as much about their dog as possible before they own one.  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

The British Public love big dogs and Conan is an incredibly fluffy, laid back, loving, gentle giant who everyone will fall in love with. Westminster is also all about representing the public – I cannot think of someone who better represents dogs across the country than one who is energetic and active, loving and happy, cuddly and funny, fluffy and messy, all at the same time like Alun.  

If Alun and Conan were to win Westminster Dog of the Year 2021, I know that they will win over the hearts of everyone, just as they won over mine from the moment I first saw them. They are both perfect examples of Mankind’s Best Friend, and if they were crowned Westminster Dog(s) of the Year, I know they would be dancing with delight.

Edward Timpson and Stanley

Owner’s name: Edward Timpson 

Constituency: Eddisbury 

Dog’s name: Stanley 

Breed: Border Terrier 

Sex: Male 

Age: 11.5 years 

Colour: Red 

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog? 

His waggly tail and wet nose. 

How does your dog enhance your day to day life? 

He comes to find me and lies at my feet. He keeps me company on Zoom calls!  

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling? 

Puppy farms and people who sell sick puppies for huge profit.  

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner? 

Someone who does their homework before buying a puppy and looks up The Kennel Club list of Assured Breeders (as I did for Stanley!).  

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021? 

He went in 2015, so this is his second outing. Please give him a prize for persistence!  

Matt Vickers and Karen

Owner’s name: Matt Vickers

Constituency: Stockton South

Dog’s name: Karen

Breed: Pomihuaha

Sex: Female

Age: 1.5 years

Colour: Cream

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog?

Karen’s perseverance and positivity. Having come from a very horrible home which we now suspect to be an unlicensed puppy farm, Karen was in such a poor state when she got back to her owner’s home that it was feared she wouldn’t last the first night. She was very sickly and immobile, wasn’t chipped nor was she vaccinated. The fact that she has come out of what must have been such a traumatic past to be the loving, trusting and (sometimes too) energetic dog she is today is absolutely inspiring and I am proud to be her dogfather (godfather).

How does your dog enhance your day to day life?

Seeing her owners love her almost as if she were their own flesh and blood, Karen makes me appreciate life. She has given me a different perspective on the relationship between humans and animals and has been the main motivating factor for why I campaign on issues surrounding pets.

As she came to them in such a bad and vulnerable way they had to go above and beyond to look after her.

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling?

Karen opened our eyes to the real dangers of unlicensed puppy farms that risk the lives of dogs and puppies in order to turn a profit.

Karen has also championed the cause of tackling pet theft through tackling the root cause of this heinous crime and supporting stricter sentences for pet thieves. She has publicly supporter Loder’s Law and, more recently, the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill that has taken recommendations from the Pet Theft Taskforce and aims to create a specific offence of pet theft. Karen strongly believes that pets should not be treated by the law as property and that the emotional impact of having a pet stolen needs to be properly recognised by the justice system.

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner?

Taking responsibility for the dog from the big things like safety, microchipping, jabs, but also being a responsible dog owner in the wider sense of that word – keeping your dog on a lead, picking up its waste when on walks and making sure that your dog is as well behaved as possible.

But, importantly, on an emotional level keeping your dog happy by providing it with companionship and attention and making sure you keep its mind stimulated by keeping it learning new skills.

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021?

Karen is more than just your average dog. She stands up for dog rights, regardless of party lines, and, even though she can’t vote, she is a keen lobbyist who ensures that paw-litics works for our furry friends.

Having come from a difficult background, Karen understands better than most the dangers of irresponsible dog ownership and puppy farming. She sees winning Westminster Dog of the Year 2021 as a perfect platform to highlight this very real issue facing her four-pawed friends across the country.

Karen is also a real campaigner for real action to stop pet theft, supporting stricter sentences and changes in the law that recognise dogs as the smart, sentient creatures that they are rather than just objects.

In conclusion, Karen sees winning this competition as an important step in standing up for dogs and pets around the country. Her passion for dogs rights make her an ideal candidate to win this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year!

 

Suzanne Webb and Sid

Owner’s name: Suzanne Webb

Constituency: Stourbridge

Dog’s name: Sidney Pickles (Sid for short)

Breed: Cocker Spaniel

Sex: Male

Age: 1 year, 8 months

Colour: Tricolour

What are your favourite characteristics of your dog?

Sweet natured, a cuddle monster and gorgeous eyes.

How does your dog enhance your day to day life?

Sidney is just a lovely, happy dog with a wonderful nature. He blows away any cobwebs with his happy energy and is a tonic to walk everyday.

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling?

Great work done in recent years on many issues, including on pet theft, sentencing for animal cruelty and animal sentience – all of which will benefit dogs.

I am concerned about any increase in Alabama Rot and I would support an awareness drive.

What do you think makes a responsible dog owner?

Plenty of attention, plenty of walks, plenty of cuddles. Good food and lots of water, especially in the summer. Pet insurance, microchipping and regular visits to the vets for vaccines and other treatments. Be safe and respectful around other people and dogs, using the lead when appropriate and always a collar with identification.

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2021?

As well as being the most beautiful dog in the world, Sid is also the best companion for a busy MP. He has a wonderful nature with that typical cocker spaniel energy and naughty streak. He’s also a master campaigner and knows the streets of Stourbridge as well as anyone. He is guaranteed to brighten up anyone’s day no matter the situation.

Don't forget we also run Holyrood Dog of the Year!