Best-in-Show glory for poodle Ricky
A poodle named Ricky has landed the world's most prestigious dog show prize after being judged this year's Best-in-Show at Crufts.
The two-year-old standard poodle triumphed over six other best-in-group winners in the final event of the annual competition, which attracted more than 21,000 entrants from Britain and overseas.
Ricky and his handler, Jason Lynn, were given the nod by the best-in-show judge Jack Bispham after being assessed for overall health, condition, coat, character, temperament and movement.
Speaking immediately after the result was declared at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre last night, Mr Lynn confirmed that Ricky would now be retired from competition in the UK.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more," Mr Lynn, from Preston, Lancashire, said. "He gave an absoulutely beautiful performance, and I am so proud of him."
Mr Lynn, who co-owns and co-bred the champion animal, added: "He was top dog all breeds last year and we decided that this would be his last show - and he has ended it in the most wonderful way possible."
Ricky was described earlier this week by his co-breeder Mike Gadsby as "a regular dog that we can take to the park and let off the lead", and earned his place in the Best-in-Show ring by winning Crufts' utility dog category.
Competing under his official name of Afterglow Maverick Sabre, Ricky fought off competition from a Pomeranian, a wire fox terrier, an Irish Wolfhound, a Samoyed, a Rottweiler and an American Cocker Spaniel.
The Samoyed, named Dan the Man and being shown by Sue Smith from Upwell in Norfolk, was named as the Best-in-Show runner-up.