ONE lad and his dog are heading to the world’s largest canine show and are hoping to do Wearside proud.
Schoolboy Luke Johnston, 13, from Houghton, with his whippet Chance, will be taking part in Crufts next week.
The Houghton Kepier School pupil will be the youngest competitor in the final of the Kennel Gazette Junior Warrant Winner of the Year competition.
Luke and two-year-old Chance – whose show name is Collooney Tricky Dicky – will battle it out at Crufts with nine others after two tightly-fought semi finals at London’s leading dog event, Discover Dogs, last November.
The prestigious Junior Warrant is an award for pedigree dogs from the ages of six to 18 months who have won a series of first prizes at both open and championships shows.
Achieving a Junior Warrant is one of the highest levels of success for young pedigree dogs.
Luke’s proud mum Helen said: “He got Chance for his 11th birthday and they have been competing all over the country in junior competitions.”
Luke said: “It’s going to be in the main arena at Crufts, in spotlights. The judge will go over the dog and tell us to move him.
“It might even be on the TV. I always practise in the street and there is loads of training clubs you can go to. I go to one in Newbottle.
“Chance is good but can be naughty sometimes and not run where he needs to.
“Mam did dog training when she was young, then stopped, then got another whippet and I went to a few shows with her.
“I just got better and better and started going to shows and eventually got to this point.”
The Kennel Gazette Junior Warrant Winner of the Year Competition is held annually and is for dogs which have gained the title of Junior Warrant during the previous year.
There were 12 heats held throughout the UK in August and September 2010, with five dogs and a reserve selected by the judge at each of the heats and those dogs were then invited to the semi finals at the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event at Earls Court, London.
The Kennel Gazette Junior Warrant Competition final will be just one of canine competitions taking place at Crufts between March 10 and 13 at the NEC in Birmingham.
For tickets visit www.dfscrufts.org.uk