Sunderland teenager’s dog wins Best of Breed at Crufts

11.03.12 Copyright onEdition 2012 �''Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition''Picture shows Luke Johnston from Sunderland with his Saluki called Rafi who won Best of Breed in the Hound group 11.03.12, the fourth and final day of Crufts 2012, at the Birmingham NEC.''Crufts is the world's largest dog show and was established in 1891 by Charles Cruft.  This year will see more than 21,000 healthy, happy dogs enjoying competing for the coveted 'Best in Show' title.  Crufts 2012 runs from the 8th to the 11th March 2012 at the NEC, Birmingham.''Crufts is the perfect opportunity for dog lovers to find out even more about the range of schemes, activities and events that they can get involved in, to ensure that they and their dog have a long, healthy and fulfilling relationship from puppy-hood, all the way through their'lives!'For additional images, press releases, video or audio content please visit: http://www.w-w-i.com/crufts_2012/''For more information please contact the press office on + 44(0)20 751

11.03.12 Copyright onEdition 2012 �''Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition''Picture shows Luke Johnston from Sunderland with his Saluki called Rafi who won Best of Breed in the Hound group 11.03.12, the fourth and final day of Crufts 2012, at the Birmingham NEC.''Crufts is the world's largest dog show and was established in 1891 by Charles Cruft. This year will see more than 21,000 healthy, happy dogs enjoying competing for the coveted 'Best in Show' title. Crufts 2012 runs from the 8th to the 11th March 2012 at the NEC, Birmingham.''Crufts is the perfect opportunity for dog lovers to find out even more about the range of schemes, activities and events that they can get involved in, to ensure that they and their dog have a long, healthy and fulfilling relationship from puppy-hood, all the way through their'lives!'For additional images, press releases, video or audio content please visit: http://www.w-w-i.com/crufts_2012/''For more information please contact the press office on + 44(0)20 751

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HE’S Best of Breed – the dog, that is.

Teenager Luke Johnston has been attending the world famous Crufts dog show since he was eight years old.

But this year he is celebrating after his dog Rafi helped him clinch his first ever Best of Breed title.

Rafi, a two-year-old saluki, fought off competition from 125 other dogs to scoop the coveted prize before going on to finish third in the Best in Group judging.

Luke, who attends Houghton Kepier Sports College, was left beaming after his victory at the show, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham at the weekend.

“I’ve been coming to Crufts since I was eight, but this is my first Best of Breed and I am absolutely over the moon,” he said.

“It really is like a dream come true. I’ve been wanting this for a long time, so it is so great to achieve it.

“It’s just a massive shock as we didn’t expect it, but I’ve always wanted to be in the big ring and get a placing in the group. It just feels like ‘wow’.

“Because I’m still young I hope this is the first of many and I will have many more Best of Breeds.”

Luke said that Rafi dealt with pre-show nerves better than him.

“I think he got excited, but I don’t think he felt nervous like I did.”

Although Luke has a passion for salukis, they are not the only breed of dog he favours.

Luke said: “It’s not just salukis, it’s whippets as well. I have a passion for most dogs, but it’s usually the hounds. It’s just how elegant they look and salukis are one of the most ancient breed.”

Luke is a huge Crufts fan and watches it whenever he has a chance.

Luke said: “I watch ones that I have recorded, or I watch it on YouTube.”

For any other aspiring young dog handlers, Luke said that giving your time is the most important thing.

“You’ve got to be able to put in the time because the dogs don’t just go and do it on their own, they have to be trained.

“You have to be invisible and make sure the dog is the star of the show.”

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