Owners walk away with top Crufts prize

A Chesterfield pet owner and Amy, a 20-month-old bull terrier, proved every dog does have its day after walking away with a top prize at Crufts.

Amy was one of more than 21,500 happy, healthy dogs at the NEC in Birmingham for the world’s biggest dog show, presented by the Kennel Club, and put her best paw forward to claim the Best of Breed award at the weekend.

Joanna Szewczyk, of Sycamore Road, and Amy fought off competition from a host of other dogs to scoop up the coveted prize.

And Ms Szewczyk, 32, was left beaming with pride at Amy’s performance in front of crowds at the annual competition.

“I’m overwhelmed, it’s unbelievable and I didn’t expect it at all,” she said. “I really thought we didn’t have a chance to win, maybe to get close but to win best of breed is just beautiful.

“I’ve been breeding for ten years and it’s such a big success because it’s the prestigious event you dream of winning.

“Amy is a very happy dog, very open and friendly to people. Sometimes people have negative opinions about bull terriers but with a good upbringing they are as loving and caring as any other breed.”

This year’s Crufts attracted dog lovers from all walks of life, with 45 overseas countries represented throughout the four-day show from March 6 to 9.

A number of celebrities also dropped by to sample the 122-year history of the competition including TV personality Amanda Holden, former Eastenders actress Pam St Clement and 2012 Olympic long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford.

And Amy was not the only pooch to enjoy their moment in the spotlight with Ashover’s Nigel Egginton also picking up a Best of Breed award with eight-year-old Spanish waterdog Paco,

Mr Egginton, a 50-year-old self-employed property developer, said: “It’s incredible, I’m so proud of Paco. I can’t really believe it, my head is in the sky with the clouds flying about.

“He’s just a showman. Paco is just so easy, he’s part of the family and fits into everything we do. He’s one of us.”