There was a worthy winner in Westminster today, as Rocky, a seven-year-old Labrador belonging to Batley and Spen Labour MP Tracy Brabin, was crowned 2017 Westminster Dog of the Year.
The 25th annual Westminster Dog of the Year competition, organised by Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club, took place in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster. Rocky showed dogged determination as he battled it out to defeat other ‘paw-litical’ opponents to win the coveted title.
The MPs entering the competition campaigned hard, canvassing for votes from the public before meeting the expert judges to discuss their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of devotion. This year, the event focused on the importance of training and behaviour and the life skills it arms both dog and owner with.
The winning Yorkshire MP, Tracy Brabin, said of her beloved dog:
“I am delighted to have won Westminster Dog of the Year with my terrific pooch Rocky. He had such a fantastic day, meeting all the other ‘paw-litical’ candidates and I’m really thrilled that he managed to wag his way to victory. I am very proud that he has been part of an event that promotes responsible dog ownership.”
The judging panel – Steve Jenkinson of the Kennel Club, Graeme Robertson from Dogs Trust, 2016 winning owner Jonathan Reynolds MP – spent the morning with dogs from different political persuasions and ambitions.
Commenting on the reasons Rocky was selected as the 2017 Westminster Dog of the Year, Graeme Robertson, Chairman of Dogs Trust says:
“We are thrilled with the number of MPs and commendable canines who competed for the title of Westminster Dog of the Year 2017. It’s always wonderful to see the bond between dogs and their owners, and Rocky and Tracy really stood out for this very reason, not to mention their ‘paw-litical’ prowess. I would like to thank the MPs and their devoted dogs for taking part.”
To further echo this year’s theme of training and behaviour teams from Dogs Trust’s newly launched Dog School alongside were on hand to offer advice and training tips. Dog School aims to educate dog owners across the UK on the importance of training, to not only ensure a happier, healthier dog, but also to strengthen the bond between owner and dog.
Leading the opposition in second place was Bonnie, a Beagle owned by Rebecca Pow MP for Taunton Deane, with a place in the trophy cabinet awarded to Ted, a Cockapoo owned by Maria Miller MP for Basingstoke in third.
In addition to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards, the competition also had a winner decided solely from the public vote which were Boomer and Corona, both Border Collies owned by the MP for Nottingham North, Alex Norris.