Ruff reception: Crufts hit by protesters as Australian shepherd named Viking is crowned top dog

10 March 2024, 23:15

Protesters were removed from the arena during the last day of Crufts - as Australian shepherd Viking, three, was crowned Best In Show.
Protesters were removed from the arena during the last day of Crufts - as Australian shepherd Viking, three, was crowned Best In Show. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Protesters were removed from the arena during the last day of Crufts - as Australian shepherd Viking, three, was crowned Best In Show.

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Animal rights group Peta launched a protest during the final ceremony at the Midlands dog show - unfurling a sign reading "Boycott Breeders"

The activist then attempted to storm the arena floor but was stopped before doing so.

Others also unfurled a banner with the same slogan in the stands.

A spokesperson for the animal rights group confirmed that a "supporter holding a sign reading Boycott Breeders attempted to storm the arena floor before the winner was announced".

Protesters are removed from the arena during the fourth day of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2024.
Protesters are removed from the arena during the fourth day of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2024. Picture: Alamy
Protesters are removed from the arena during the fourth day of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2024.
Protesters are removed from the arena during the fourth day of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2024. Picture: Alamy
Protesters are removed from the arena during the fourth day of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2024.
Protesters are removed from the arena during the fourth day of the Crufts Dog Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2024. Picture: Alamy

An Australian shepherd named Viking has been crowned best in show at the 2024 Crufts dog show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Three-year-old Viking, from Solihull, Birmingham, beat 24,000 dogs from around the world over the last four days to claim the show's top honour on Sunday.

Viking, co-owned by Melanie Raymond, John Shaw and Kerry Kirtley, was the winner of the pastoral group earlier in the show.

Ms Raymond, a third generation dog breeder who lives just three miles from the showground, said: "We all dream of winning best in show at Crufts."

Pastoral Group winner Viking, an Australian Shepherd, co-owned by Melanie Raymond, John Shaw and Kerry Kirtley, who has won Best in Show
An Australian shepherd named Viking has been crowned best in show at the 2024 Crufts dog show at the NEC in Birmingham. Picture: Alamy

Asked if he lived up to expectation, she said: "He did actually, I should never doubt him because he always gives me everything and you come in and he's like 'yep, come on let's do this'.

"So he loves every minute of it."

A spokesman for The Kennel Club said: "There was a protest incident involving Peta at Crufts and they were swiftly removed to ensure the safety and welfare of the dogs and owners, who are our main priority.

"Far from perpetuating the homeless dog crisis as Peta claims, Crufts is a unique platform which educates millions of visitors, and viewers on Channel 4, about how to get the right dog for your lifestyle, so that all dogs, whether rescue dogs or puppies, have a home for life.

Pastoral Group winner
Ms Raymond, a third generation dog breeder who lives just three miles from the showground, said: "We all dream of winning best in show at Crufts.". Picture: Alamy

"We celebrated hundreds of rescue dogs at Crufts this year, and have a dedicated rescue dog area, as well our Discover Dogs zone, which help would-be owners to find the right dog or puppy for them and make responsible choices about this life-long decision.

"We are at the forefront of improving dog health and invest in research, develop health tests and educate breeders, owners and judges about the importance of ensuring health is their top priority."

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