Laura to make her mark at Crufts dog show
THIS Cleethorpes woman will be top dog when she judges a prestigious competition at Crufts.
Grimsby Telegraph reporter Laura Stuart-Cook, 26, has been invited to judge the Young Kennel Club handling finals at the world's biggest dog show.
She will head to Birmingham NEC from March 7 to 10 to judge the country's best young dog handlers, aged between six and 24.
She said: "Most of the competitions you see at Crufts are about the dog and its confirmation and movement, but handling competitions are about how well the person on the other end of the lead shows off their dog.
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"There are dozens of dog shows held around the country every weekend but Crufts is the highlight of the calendar and only the best of the best qualify."
Different groups of dogs are judged on each of the four days of Crufts, with terriers and hounds on day one, toys and utilities on day two, gundogs on day three and working and pastoral breeds on the final day.
Laura will judge handlers in three age groups each day – six to 11 years, 12 to 16 years and 17 to 24 years. The winners of each of the classes will then compete for the overall Young Kennel Club Handler Of The Year title on the last day.
She added: "I will be looking for the handlers who show their dogs to best advantage. They have to stand their dog correctly for its size and breed type and then move the dog in various patterns.
"Presentation of both dog and handler is very important, as is the handler's attitude and rapport with their dog."
Laura, who relocated from Birmingham to join the Telegraph team five years ago, started showing dogs when she was 11 – despite not growing up with them.
She added: "My mum has always been scared of dogs but when my sister and I were old enough we decided to start walking our neighbour's Irish setters for pocket money.
"It turned out that she showed them and we got involved from there.
"I've got fond memories of competing and winning at Crufts myself and it will be a great honour to judge this year."
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