Four agility dogs competing in The Kennel Club Novice Cup at Crufts were crowned winners in the final on Thursday 9 March, in their respective categories, for small, medium, intermediate and large dogs, sponsored by YuMove. Bru, a five-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, and owner Matthew Burdett from Caddington, Bedfordshire, won The Kennel Club Novice Cup for small dogs.

Delighted Matthew said: “It’s amazing to win. This was our first time competing individually here at Crufts, it’s a massive achievement to be here and being out in that arena is amazing.

“We’ve never competed at Crufts before, so this is one to tick off the list! This is the event of the year.” Skedaddle, a three-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, and owner Stephanie Best from Ringwood, Hampshire, won The Kennel Club Novice Cup for medium dogs.

Thrilled Stephanie said: “I feel amazing! This is Skedaddle’s first time here, I’m really proud of him. This is the pinnacle event, the highest you can get to and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s really cool to be here, it means a lot.”

Cicada, a two-year-old Border Collie, and owner Marita Ogilvie from Bourne, Lincolnshire, won The Kennel Club Novice Cup for intermediate dogs.

Over-joyed Marita said: “It was a bit of a whirlwind! This is Cicada’s first time, and Crufts is one of those experiences that when you do agility, you just want to do it every year, it is on your list. It has got such an amazing atmosphere, it is not like anything else.”

Panche, a two-year-old Border Collie, and owner Nicola Wildman from Preston, Lancashire, won The Kennel Club Novice Cup for large dogs.

Proud Nicola said: “I love competing at Crufts! It's always amazing to be at the biggest dog show in the world and doing what we love there and showcasing it to other people. I am an agility trainer full time and what I really love is how agility builds the bond with a dog."

The top six large, six intermediate, six medium and six small dogs from the semi-final Novice Cup competition held at The Kennel Club International Agility Festival last August took part in the finals on Thursday at Crufts.

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Congratulations to the four winning dogs and their owners in The Novice Cup final and for their truly fantastic performance in the ring. Well done to all those that made it to the final at Crufts, all of the competitors should feel very proud of their achievements.

“We wish them the best of luck for the future.” Crufts took place from 9 -12 March 2023 at the NEC, Birmingham.