ELEVEN-year-old Ryan Ross was named the Shaun McAlpine ‘Outstanding Young Person of the Year’ at Crufts.
A total of 15 Young Kennel Club (YKC) members were nominated for the award which celebrates the hard-working, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers.
Ryan, who lives in Peterborough, was nominated for being a polite, smart and well-mannered young handler. He has been showing dogs for more than three years and competes in breed and handling classes. He enjoys learning about other breeds by showing other people’s dogs, and has been highly commended on his skills in the ring.
Making a difference
The award is the highest level of achievement for the country’s young dog owners. Presented by the YKC, it recognises and celebrates the achievements of inspiring and innovative young people who are making a difference for dogs.
Ryan is believed to be the youngest handler to make up a champion. He was ten when he steered the English Toy Terrier Witchstone Diamond Geeza for Poshpins (Chip) to his third CC; Chip was 18 months old.
Ryan’s new ETT puppy, Witchstone China Girl for Poshpins, has won four BPIS, two BPIB and two RCCs already.
The YKC received nominations from more than 160 dog trainers, parents and school staff, and shortlisted 15 worthy contenders to take to the YKC ring at Crufts. For nearly 30 years, Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy and awards at Crufts in memory of their son Shaun who was killed in a road accident in 1984 two weeks after his 22nd birthday. He achieved success as a handler, and the trophy is awarded annually to encourage youngsters to become more involved in dog activities.
Gerald King, chairman of the YKC and Crufts, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took time to nominate these brilliant young people. The range of nominations we received was huge and varied which leaves no doubt that YKC members have great talent which is to be celebrated and honoured.
“We have had some inspiring stories this year; it is great to see the wonderful work our young people do. Ryan and his friends and family should be very proud, as he is such a great example of young people working with dogs to help their community.
“Ryan’s manners and behaviour have been exemplary and he has real rapport with the dogs whom he shows and should go far in the sport.”
The presentation to Ryan took place on the Sunday of Crufts. He was the overall winner of the three age categories – six-11 years, 12-16 and 17-24. Each finalist was given a YKC ‘ambassador’s’ badge.