Hailsham dog owner scoops top prize at Crufts

Derek Dungate from Hailsham with Fjord, a Lhasa Apso, which was the Best of Breed winner at Crufts. Photo courtesy of onEdition. SUS-160314-105427001
Derek Dungate from Hailsham with Fjord, a Lhasa Apso, which was the Best of Breed winner at Crufts. Photo courtesy of onEdition. SUS-160314-105427001

A Hailsham dog owner made sure it was a double celebration at this year’s Crufts after he and his four-legged friend strolled away with a top prize on the 125th anniversary of the world’s largest dog show.

Derek Dungate, of Marshfoot Lane, and two-year-old Fjord, a Lhasa Apso, fought off competition from a host of other dogs to scoop the coveted Best of Breed award.

Fjord was one of nearly 22,000 healthy, happy dogs at Birmingham’s NEC last week for the prestigious dog show, which first took place in 1891 where it featured just 2,437 entries.

And after seeing his beloved pet pooch put his best paw forward at this year’s Crufts, presented by the Kennel Club, Mr Dungate, 57, was left beaming with pride, especially after Fjord was then named fourth best utility group dog.

“This is just brilliant, I absolutely did not expect to win, it is a big shock to us both and has hit us like a bolt out of the blue,” said Mr Dungate, who runs his own cattery and grooming parlour.

“We were just happy to get down to the last few so to be named best of breed; I have no words for it.

“He’s really young so I didn’t know how it would go but he did so well I want to carry on campaigning; he’s such a good dog.

“Fjord absolutely loves the attention; he’s off his head and is always happy on stage or in the arena.

“He gets fidgety whenever he is stood still which proves that he’s a real showman.

“What is so great about Crufts is that everyone comes with such a positive attitude; I never came expecting to win because there are so many dogs.

“Everyone is so happy and congratulatory and it’s fantastic to be here on the 125th anniversary; to achieve what I’ve achieved here is such a rush.”

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