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Canine leadship battle rocks Westminster!

With more backbiting than the Conservative party conference, and more excitement than the Archer or Currie diaries, this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year competition promises to be top of the nation’s pawlitical agenda.

The Westminster Dog of the Year competition is open to dogs from both Houses, and is run jointly by the National Canine Defence League and the Kennel Club. Although a strictly non-political affair, the competition usually attracts its fair share of good humoured ‘bitching’!

The canine candidates will be judged by Clarissa Baldwin of the NCDL and Rose Smart of the Kennel Club, assisted by Lord Lucas, owner of the current title-holder, Puffin.

Unlike Championship dog shows, the dogs will be judged on their good deeds and behaviour rather than looks or pedigree. The competition is open to dogs of all ages, shape and political persuasion, pedigree and crossbreed alike. The aim is to highlight the very special bond between a dog and his owner – dogs are endlessly loyal no matter what.

Now in its 10th year, the competition attracted a record entry of 17 finalists! The judges met the following canine candidates last Thursday (October 17th.): Amber, Hungarian Vizsla, owned by Lord Rotherwick; Ben, Labrador, Lord Tebbit; Bippy, Jack Russell terrier, Lord Williams of Mostyn; Bracken, English Springer Spaniel, Peter Duncan MP; Charley, Staffordshire Bull t, Andrew Rosindell MP; Curby, Lhasa Apso, Cheryl Gillan MP; Dandy, Labrador Retriever, Chris Pond MP; Freddie, English Springer Spaniel, Michael Trend MP; Harry, Crossbreed, Joan Ryan MP; Humbug, Cocker Spaniel, John Whittingdale MP; Islay, Labrador and Panisse Lhasa Apso, by Lord Selsdon; Jasper, German Shepherd dog, by David Curry MP; Jervis, Norfolk Terrier, Lord Waddington; Rupert, Smooth Haired Dachshund, Lord Bowness; Zack, Bedlington Terrier, Vera Baird QC MP; Michael, Labrador Retriever, David Amess MP; Elvis, West Highland white terrier, Siobhain McDonagh MP:

See next week’s issue for photos of the winner!