A retired couple who spent nearly 30 years rearing prize-winning dogs were delighted when their cocker spaniel won Best in Breed at crufts.
John and Linda Robinson, who live in Dunstable, were unable to attend the dog show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre last Thursday due to ill health.
Luckily, close friend Lesley Price was on hand to show two-year-old cocker spaniel Isla, who claimed the Best in Breed prize.
Thrilled owner Linda told the Gazette: “It’s very rewarding. We gave Isla a good run around the garden when she came back!”
The Robinsons decided to dedicate themselves to breeding dogs after their children left home.
They registered their first dog in 1987 and last won a Best in Breed prize at Crufts in 2001.
Linda said: “Breeding takes a lot of perserverance and hard work, but the trick is never to give up.
“Be clever and shrewd with your breeding because you never know what you’re going to get.”
College examiner Lesley, 56, was happy to have been with Isla on the big day.
Lesley said: “It is a wonderful experience and getting best of breed was a totally unexpected but a lovely surprise.
“We just didn’t know quite what to expect, it has all been a bit of a whirlwind.
“But Crufts is fantastic and the whole day has been a pretty memorable one. We’re all very proud of Isla, she is just a great dog.”
This year’s Crufts was overshadowed by the death of a prize-winning Irish setter a day after the show. A post-mortem found he was poisoned.
The incident was enough to concern the Robinsons. Linda said: “Similar things have happened before. There’s a lot that goes on at Crufts.”