It’s the canine equivalent of the Oscars and the one award that all dog owners dream of winning.
Crufts – the world’s biggest dog show – takes place annually in Birmingham, and this year’s winners included a “wee kid in a furry coat” from Grangemouth.
Dexter, a three-year-old bichon frise, came first in the post graduate class, beating 13 other entries.
“It’s an absolute dream come true,” said owner Marilyn Smith (66). “We entered last year and finished second, so to go one better this year is fantastic.”
The post graduate class, which is reserved for dogs that have not won five or more shows or have not been issued a ‘championship certificate’, is awarded by judges to pets which have the potential to win ‘best in show’.
Marilyn, a retired district nurse, bought Dexter from a breeder in Northhampton.
When it came to preparing Dexter for his big day in Birmingham, she was helped by friend and dog groomer Marmene Dickson.
“He is like a wee kid in a furry coat,” she said. “As a breed, they are becoming more and more popular.”
Although Marilyn and Dexter are no strangers to the green baize carpeted showring at Crufts, she confessed to still being nervous when it came to the main event.
“Nobody is confident when they step into the ring,” she added. “So when the judge picked Dexter I was thrilled.”
The bichon frise is descended from the water spaniel and the standard poodle. The word bichon comes from the old French term for ‘small long-haired dog’.
Though not considered a retriever or water dog, the bichon, due to its ancestry as a sailor’s dog, has an affinity for water. On the boats, the dog’s provided companionship.