Shape Of You Ed Sheeran
14 March 2016, 18:04
The organisers of Crufts in Birmingham insist no rules were broken when a judge awarded a top prize to a dog her sister co-owners.
The Kennel Club said the winning gundog - a Gordon setter named James - had landed a string of awards at this year's Crufts even before he was named best-in-group by Staffordshire-based judge Di Arrowsmith.
Mrs Arrowsmith - the sister of James' part-owner Josie Baddeley - selected the four-year-old setter as Crufts' best gundog on Friday.
The decision, which meant James made it through to the judging for Sunday's seven-dog best-in-show event, came after he already won four other prizes.
In a statement, Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said: "It is important to clarify that no rules were broken here.
"Any dog that is chosen as a winner is done so because of the judge's honest opinion on the day and is judged with integrity.
"James, the Gordon setter, was judged by two judges before being chosen as the winner of best-in-group for gundog breeds.
"Before getting to that stage of the competition, he first won the open dog class, then won best dog and went on to win best-of-breed. This was chosen by the breed judge.
"On the same day, James also won the first ever Vulnerable British & Irish Breeds competition, beating 25 other dogs of various breeds. This was judged by a previous best-in-show judge at Crufts."
Referring to the decision taken by Mrs Arrowsmith, Ms Kisko added: "The quality of the dog was the only factor that was involved in the decision and this is evident in his previous success throughout the day.
"James has previously won 22 challenge certificates and best-of-breed on 18 occasions, highlighting that many different judges have the same view that he is a good representation of the breed in terms of health and temperament."
In a short statement, Mrs Arrowsmith, said: "I would say that to have not awarded this dog this prize would have been dishonest.''