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.”