A TEENAGE dog owner from Wearside and his beloved pooch walked off with a prestigious award at Crufts.
Luke Johnston and his 22-month-old Saluki dog, Mina, fought off ruff competition from a host of other dogs to scoop the Handling trophy for 12 to 16-year-olds at the world’s biggest dog show.
More than 21,500 dogs were present at the Kennel Club-organised gathering
And 16-year-old Luke, who attends Kepier School, was left beaming with pride at Mina’s performance in front of crowds at the NEC in Birmingham.
“I’m overwhelmed to have won, I never thought it would happen again,” said Luke, of Houghton, who also won the trophy in 2013.
“It’s my last year in this age group so I’m pleased to have finished like this.
“I’ll be back next year in the 17-24, possibly with Mina because our relationship is very good.
Luke added: “Mina is from Italy and as soon as she stepped into the ring she was a natural show dog.
“She lived with an older couple who are unable to train her so it was brilliant what she did.
“Mina is very special because I drove 27 hours there and 27 hours back to collect her. I own her brother and they’re such a special pair.”
This year’s Crufts attracted dog lovers from all walks of life, with 45 overseas countries represented throughout the four-day extravaganza.
A number of celebrities also dropped by to sample the competition, including TV personality Amanda Holden, former Eastenders actress Pam St Clement and Olympic long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford.