A team of corgis from Gloucestershire has won the first ever ‘obreedience’ competition at Crufts.
The four small animals and their owners beat eight other teams to prove their worth as the most obedient breed in a fun competition at the world’s biggest dog event.
It was introduced this year as a special display event at the show, in Birmingham’s NEC, on Saturday.
The winning team members were Maria Carter and her dog Carina, from Cheltenham, Sally Corbett and her dog Charlie, from Tewkesbury, Jan West and her dog Rhoda, from Gloucester and Emese Kovacs and her dog Badger, from Wadhurst in Sussex.
Team leader Maria, the Shurdington-based president of the Cheltenham Dog Training Club, is a specialist trainer of small dogs and has won at Crufts before.
But she was still thrilled to have won the brand new event, especially as Sally and Emese had never done anything like it before.
Maria said: “It was like winning the World Cup. Two of our team were competitive novices and were very nervous on the day.
“I had to reassure them and tell them to enjoy themselves and they did.”
Maria, whose corgis stood in for the Queen’s dogs in the 2010 film The King’s Speech, said it had been a memorable occasion.
“The place was absolutely full and the atmosphere was fantastic,” she said.
Each of the team members received a big rosette, a certificate and some dog food.
Maria revealed that the team’s victory had been achieved despite its members having only got together twice to practice. That was because of their work commitments and because Emese lives so far away from the others.
Each team took part in two rounds.
The first was a heel work round completed as a group, with the dogs being assessed on their ability to complete different moves while remaining synchronised with their team mates.
The second round featured four set exercises and each member needed to successfully complete one of them. They included a retrieve (of the handler’s own article), a send to bed, stop the dog, and scent over articles.
Maria’s reputation as a trainer led to the Kennel Club inviting her to enter a team into the competition.