A teenager from Grimoldby has described the ‘fabulous’ feeling of achieving success at Crufts - for the seventh year in a row.
Now, Dylan Smith (13) has yet another feather in his cap after becoming the youngest person to qualify for advanced level in the ‘freestyle’ category, in partnership with his beloved seven-year-old Border Collie, Chase.
The previous holder of this record was 16-year-old Ashleigh Butler, who went on to win the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent alongside her dancing dog Pudsey in 2012.
Dylan, who is in Year Nine at Cordeaux Academy, is looking at taking part in Lincolnshire’s Got Talent later this year - and he would not rule out entering Britain’s Got Talent himself if the opportunity arises in future.
At this year’s Crufts, Dylan and Chase entered the advanced freestyle category and the intermediate heelwork category - and the pair ended up winning both.
Dylan, who has now won awards at Crufts for seven consecutive years, said: “I feel really proud - it’s a fabulous feeling.
Dog training is lots of hard work and commitment, but it’s also good fun.Carol Mortimer
“It was a bit daunting, and it was much harder this year being against someone of the same level in the advanced category”.
Dylan and his family have a historical connection to dog training, as his grandmother Carol Mortimer was one of the first people to do heelwork to music, before it was formally recognised by The Kennel Club.
Dylan’s little sister, Grace (10) and his cousin Louise (15) - who also lives in Grimoldby - are also keen dog trainers, and both took part in this year’s Crufts competition too.
Grace took part in the under-12s novice freestyle category with her three-year-old Labrador, Floyd, and she also took part in the grooming category with her five-year-old Papillon, Kai, in which she achieved fourth place. Louise, meanwhile, achieved 3rd place in novice freestyle and 1st place in heelwork.
Grandmother Carol Mortimer said: “Dylan, Grace and Louise are always successful at Crufts, and I am very proud of them.
“Dylan has been very successful with heelwork to music, and there’s great potential there for the future.
“He’s a real showman and I can picture him on Britain’s Got Talent. Maybe we’ll enter next year.”