6-9 March 2025, The NEC Birmingham

Young Kennel Club

Here at the Young Kennel Club we aim to provide young people with a place to train their dogs and compete against members of a similar age (aged 6-24). We owe our existence to the vision of one person: Daphne MacDougall. Daphne was instrumental during the 1980s in convincing The Kennel Club that young people needed a club and a voice of their own within The Kennel Club. 

With over 30 years’ experience, and thousands of members who enjoy all the fun activities on offer, the Young Kennel Club (YKC) is a great way to have a good time and meet likeminded people. Our range of activities grow each year and the more involved you become, the more fun you and your dog will have.

Sound like a club you want to be part of? We certainly hope so! Why not sign up to the Young Kennel Club today? Or follow our Instagram or Facebook pages.

YKC Crufts 2024 Results
  • All YKC Results from Crufts 2024 are published here. 
Join today

If you know someone aged 6-24 years, the Young Kennel Club is an ideal place to make new friends, develop your love of dogs and acquire new skills. The annual membership fee for the Young Kennel Club is just £15, and you’ll receive:

  • A members pack
  • A subscription to ‘Fetch’, our magazine for members, which is issued three times a year. It’s packed with information, members' articles and competitions
  • Free entry to Crufts and Discover Dogs
  • Opportunities to try out different disciplines at YKC training days
  • A YKC member-only ring at Crufts, where members qualify and compete at the highest level

Sign up today!

Visit us at the show

Make sure that you bring any youngsters or young adults (aged up to 24 years) along to see us at the show as we have our very own stand and ring, jam packed with competitions and displays over all four days. If you are new to the club, this is the perfect opportunity to come along and find out firsthand from members about the activities you can become involved with. If you’re an old hand, the show is the ideal occasion to catch up with your friends.

Crufts 2024 Judges Reports

Heelwork to Music 2024 Judges Report

The judges for the main Heelwork to Music competition in the Arena were pleased to also judge the Young Kennel Club Heelwork to Music competition.


The Young Kennel Club ring presents its own challenges being in a busy location and surrounded by crowds that were, quite rightly, interested and engaged.


Congratulations to all the young handlers, who coped with the conditions extremely well and, in some cases, showed mature and skillful handling where their dog was coping less well with the situation.  Most of the handlers had made the effort to wear a costume that was in keeping with the theme of their round.  Everyone made good use of the space available and in each case the choreographic intentions were clear and appropriate, reflecting the different level that each dog was competing at.


All the competitors should be very proud of themselves and their dogs as they were brilliant ambassadors for our sport. 

Handling Classes 2024 Judges Report




6-11 YEARS

1 Freya Mitchell, Bichon Frise. Freya was a competent and understated handler who had full control of her dog at all times. Dressed to complement her dog, and she showed just how to present this dog to full advantage. Completed her pattern work without fuss and was attentive to her dog at all times, she was focused on showing her dog and always keeping one eye on me. Topped off with a polite and kind attitude. Well done!

2 George Gardner, Miniature Poodle. I’ve watched George over the past couple of years in the handling rings and have always been impressed with his natural handling ability. He’s improved so much and today put on a smashing performance to take 2nd in this good class. He is presented in a smart mauve suit, is always smiling and he stacks his dog well on the table and gaits his dog at the correct pace.

3 Abigail Twigg, Miniature Pinscher. Absolutely loved the way Abigail could free-stand her dog, bending over from the waist to keep her baiting hands low so the dog looked its best in the free stand. There’s no doubt she has a very bright future in dog showing. Not an easy breed to use for handling but she’s showed a lot of skill with a difficult breed and had a good rapport with her dog.


12-17 YEARS – A very competitive class and I was splitting hairs to separate the top 5.

1 Emily Moores, Pomeranian. An outstanding performance on the day, clean, free from fuss, focussed and still encouraging of her dog who was a little apprehensive on the Crufts surface. She showed her dog off, her table work was exemplary and showed the dog’s teeth very clearly and gently. Her pattern work was first class and finished with just the right amount of distance in front of me. Polite and polished with the most excellent rapport and a handler who I’m sure will go all the way in the future with a dog who more enjoys the surface! Congratulations.

2 Tiggy Saunders, Miniature Schnauzer. Very close up to 1 who was handling a dog I know well and therefore I was extra critical. However, Tiggy really impressed from the moment she was introduced by the commentators into the ring. Really smart, unobtrusive and focussed on keeping her dog at the right pace. Lead control was excellent along with encouraging the dog when necessary. On the table, I muttered under my breath, “Wow’, because I turned around and she had the dog looking absolutely spot on. She has a natural flair and all the skill – am sure she will continue to win well in the future.

3 Gemma Mackenzie, German Spitz (Mittel). Completed a trio of outstanding young talent. Gemma was another who caught my eye on the entrance into the ring. Her royal blue suit perfectly complements the colour of her dog, it’s eye catching but doesn’t distract from the fact she shows the dog off at all times and not herself. She always kept one eye on me but no “eyeballing’ which I saw a lot of the younger age group classes do. Table work was excellent, taking one small step to the side when I approached and showing the teeth calmly. Her pattern work was completed perfectly gaiting the dog at the correct pace. The rapport these two had was amazing but like 2, this was not her own dog. Apparently her first time competing at Crufts and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Gemma.


18-24 YEARS

1 Katie O’Brien, Tibetan Spaniel. I don’t think I’ve judged Katie before but today she showed the ringside just how to blend a mix of competent breed handling with a touch of the finer points of handling judging. Her dog was full of character and she never got flustered but used the dog’s character to her advantage and was able to contain the excitement of her dog into an exciting and clean performance with excellent pattern work and always ensuring the dog was in my view. Her smart pink skirt suit was icing on the cake to top off a pairing who I couldn’t ignore. Well done!

2 Charlotte Westerman, Miniature Pinscher. I’ve judged Charlotte before many years ago and she has developed her handling into world class skill and flair. The rapport she has with her dog was clear to see and she’s an unobtrusive handler whose experiences competing in both breed and handling rings makes her hard to ignore. Her dog was on the tip toe of expectation at every given moment but the way Charlotte was able to utilise and control this was outstanding and fully deserved her place here.

3 Lyndsey Jones, Japanese Spitz. I’m a massive fan of Lyndsey’s handling and today she was bang on form showing her free-standing breed at every angle, looking stunning. Another who caught my eye when she made her entrance into the ring, dressed beautifully in a gorgeous pink suit which complemented her white dog which did not have a hair out of place. Table work was so good and she has such a great natural ability with dogs, always ensuring they are moving on accurate patterns at the right pace.



6-11 YEARS – the top 3 in this class really impressed and all very exciting young handlers!

1 Evelyn Hardy, Gordon Setter. Evelyn was outstanding from start to finish. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her handle before but wow, she came into the ring, with such focus and natural ability on her little shoulders, I thought I was suddenly judging an older class! She gaited her Gordon Setter at exactly the right pace, her dog is large for her but at no point did she lose control. She quietly spoke to the dog, gave it commands, her hands and body moved to ensure the dog moved into the correct position. What was even more impressive that she stacked her dog so competently and efficiently, moving the front legs by picking the legs up from upper arm. I actually went into the final on Sunday with her in my mind as a consideration for a possible top spot. Such a lovely young lady who was a delight to speak to afterwards. Best of luck in the future and congratulations.

2 Annie Mullan, Cocker Spaniel. A very accomplished performance from Annie all round. Dressed beautifully, moving her dog at the correct pace, I enjoyed watching her stack the dog in a proficient way, great lead work, nice turns and coupled with a good attitude. I see her surname is a Mullan, well if she’s got the help of a top Irish JH, then I can understand why she’s this good at this age!

3 Eliza Darwesh, Labrador Retriever. I’ve watched Eliza many times over the past few years and she is really talented and has a wonderful attitude when showing her dog. Always smiling and clearly enjoys competing and tries hard to catch a judges’ eye. Perhaps nerves got to her a little on the day, she was a little fidgety and so the performance wasn’t as neat and tidy as I’ve seen, however a cracking little handler who will continue to always be in the placings.

12-17 YEARS – Another high quality class which was very tough to separate the top 3.


1 Ellie Darling-Steele, Pointer. Ellie caught my eye entering the ring with style. Have watched her with Ridgebacks in the past but to be honest, today, she was in top form and looked better than ever with a Pointer. Her handling was slick, tidy, confident, always ensuring that her dog looked the best from any angle. You could see her handling this dog in the breed ring, but she added top handling techniques into the mix by showing the teeth calmly including all the molars. The dog was simply ‘on point’ at every moment. Thought she was outstanding and if I had time to pull out 4 in the final on Sunday, she was definitely in that four.

2 Molly Mullan, Cocker Spaniel. What a fabulous performance from Molly. I’ve had the pleasure of judging her in Ireland a few years ago and she has improved even more. I almost wanted to just pull up a chair, relax, and watch how well she performed with this Cocker. With so much experience, she knows exactly how to stack her dog with the correct head and tail carriage, lead placement and moves seamlessly from table to ground and into the pattern work with no fuss. Great attitude and it’s such a cliché I know, but wish I had more first places. I watched her in the International JH final and represented her country with flair and style. Well done indeed on a fantastic Crufts.

3 Phoebe Toublic, English Springer Spaniel. I was spoilt for choice on Gundog day and when I watched Phoebe come into the ring, I knew it was going to be such a difficult class to separate. She’s such a competent handler, knows exactly how to get the best out of her dog and over the years, she has improved her handling skills to the point which could see her win anywhere in the world. She has this wonderful no fuss and get on with the job style which I like very much.


18-24 YEARS – I am not ashamed to say I got rather emotional as I selected the winning handlers in this class, because this was the best class I’ve ever judged anywhere in the world. I would say that that there were at least another five handlers who I didn’t shortlist who have the ability and skill to win at Crufts on another day.

1 Georgia Brown, English Springer Spaniel. I’ve watched Georgia over the years in awe of her natural ability. She has the perfect attitude for handling any dog and looks completely at ease with an English Springer. You can’t help but notice her because she simply makes the dog look like a Champion, from any angle. She’s precise with her pattern work, moving the dog at the correct pace with a matching stride, the pair look poetry in motion and she has a kind and gentle touch with her dogs which makes them want to listen and work with her throughout the performance. In this class today, she was flawless, in very tough competition and hopefully will look back in years to come, at what a great performance she carried off to win this class. Well done.

2 Hunter Macdonald, Cocker Spaniel. Knocking at the door and chasing number 1 spot the whole way was Hunter’s performance with his Cocker. A smashing handler with all the skill and expertise you’d expect from this age class. He’s clearly got plenty of confidence when handling and great posture on the move and my eye was drawn to his dog at every moment. A very competent handler who you could obviously see competing at the highest level in the breed rings. Well done.

3 Eryn Williams, Golden Retriever. This pairing really impressed from the outset. Eryn was dressed in a pastel green suit which perfectly complemented her colour of dog, but after I noticed them, I continued to be wowed by her sympathetic and kind handling of what turns out to be a puppy. Never easy showing your dog at Crufts, let alone a puppy in the YKC handling classes, so huge kudos to Eryn and they worked so well in the stack and on the move. Hard to ignore a pairing this good, with all the finer points of straight lines, and competent teeth work – was the icing on the cake. Well done.



6-11 YEARS

1 Konan Maver, Australian Shepherd. What a cracking handler, topping a really promising class of younger exhibitors. Connor absolutely came in with bags of confidence and looked really good with the Australian Shepherd he was handling. Apparently not his dog, but you wouldn’t know, as they had a really good rapport, loved the way he verbally encouraged his dog and his stacking was so good for one so young. On occasions he moved the dog a fraction too fast but I’m sure that was just excitement of being at Crufts. A very happy young man who should be proud to win this good class. Well done.

2 Farrah Macdonald, Shetland Sheepdog. A very clean and tidy performance from young Farrah who was beautifully presented in a smart purple suit and sensible flat shoes. She has a quieter demeanour than 1 but that suits the breed of dog she was handling. I enjoyed watching her on the table, where she quietly showed the teeth with no fuss and ensured the dog was stood four-square at all times. Very nice pattern work where she worked hard on keeping straight lines and moving her dog at the right pace.

3 Davis McRobbie-Millar, Samoyed. Davis worked hard with his dog on the day and he was focussed on the job in hand. He tried his best to ensure he didn’t break the golden rule in the class and ran his dog at the correct speed. Another who was dressed to impress in a very smart well-fitting navy blue suit which looked perfect behind a bright white and well-presented Samoyed. Just needs to gain in confidence and that’ll come with experience. Good job.


12-17 YEARS What a class this was to judge - absolute delight! Any small errors had to be heavily penalised as the standard was so high.

1 Megan Slack, Portuguese Water Dog. I’ve watched Megan a lot in the past few years and have often seen her down the placings and could never understand why. I’ve seen her handle a Brittany extremely well in the past and more recently a PWD, which she handled on the day. I can honestly not fault her, it was flawless from start to finish. Whatever your preference for style or type of handling, she will always be in the mix because she’s so natural and quietly confident. Nothing is overdone or in your face, just good breed handling and following the YKC guidelines to a T. The performance today with the PDW was world-class and she showed no signs of nerves and I was absolutely mesmerised by the performance and watching the dog because he tracked up so true with her excellent arm and hand control, her patterns were perfectly accurate and she just quietly went about her business giving her dog plenty of space and an extra moment or two to compose the dog before completing another part of the routine. She deserved to win Runner-up overall on the Sunday, as she continued this outstanding performance and I’m sure she will continue to be a huge success in the dog showing community for many years to come. Many congratulations.

2 Srayaa Jayakumar, Dobermann. I was blown away by Srayaa who I’ve often seen handling a Golden Retriever before. Today she turned up with a Dobermann and put in what can only be described as a paw perfect routine with her dog. I was impressed with the way she gaited her dog, with the correct speed, no fuss on the stack, excellent lead control throughout. Afterwards she explained that she had only met this Doberman that morning. She thoroughly deserved this place in this very competitive class.

3 Paige Hughes, Siberian Husky. One of the most naturally gifted handlers of this generation who I’d be more than happy to trust to handle my own dogs to full advantage. She has the perfect combination of confidence and skill, but not overdone, keeps her eye on the dog at all times, giving it the freedom to be itself and she completely draws your eye to the dog she’s handling. Her teeth work was excellent and lead control was first class. She was a worthy UK representative in the International Junior Handler competition earlier in the week and she will undoubtedly be competing at the top for a very long time.


18-24 YEARS. Another superb class full of quality, even handlers I did not place were exceptional and I rate highly. I was rewarding precise and accurate handling, with natural talent and skill. Fine margins indeed separated the top 5.

1 Tamsin Blyton, Australian Shepherd Dog. This was a super performance to be proud of. From the moment I first saw her, I knew she could be in contention. She never let her dog down and seamlessly moved from the individual ‘going’ over part to the pattern work with such ease and natural ability. Her dog looked fantastic from every angle but she also paid attention to straight lines and always ensuring her dog was stood four-square. I loved how she part stacked and then stood away from her dog and free-stood her, to show off her bond and skill. In the final on Sunday, she was in my top 4 if I had time to shortlist. Well done.

2 Paige Spencer, Siberian Husky. Another handler who I have admired in the past and placed highly on many occasions and today she put on another fantastic performance and fully deserved her place in this class. She had to work hard with her dog to ensure it looked the best it could. I liked the way she moved the dog, with space between them and with a matching stride to ensure it looks its best. A class handler who would catch any judges her for fantastic ability.

3 Sophie Zbilut, Swedish Vallhund. Sophie is understated but so warm and friendly and has the most wonderful rapport with her Vallhund. Definitely not an easy breed to get perfection in handling classes but she made it look easy. Had the dog stood on the table perfectly and showed the teeth clearly with ease. She was aware of my position at all times but without the dreaded ‘eyeballing’ nor ‘overshadowing’. She will always be in contention.



6-11 YEARS – a lot of potential in this class but some had to pay the price for breaking the golden rule therefore blocking my view of the dog and not listening to my instructions. Liked on quite a few days, I asked for a triangle and up and down and many handlers performed the triangle but then had to be prompted to do the up and down. I put it understandably down to Crufts nerves!

1 Daisy Bray, Whippet. Daisy did an excellent job in this class. She quietly and calmly goes about the business of showing her dog as best as she can and I rewarded her for never breaking the golden rule and showing her dog to advantage. She finished her pattern work in front of me with good distance and was side-on, she was polite and kind with her dog throughout her performance and I also loved how she was quietly encouraging her dog. Deserved her win here and look forward to watching her in the future and building on these excellent foundations.

2 Molly Whisker, Border Terrier. I really enjoyed watching Molly, she really knows how to stand a Border and move it at the correct pace. She moved her dog at a nice speed, kept one eye on me at all times and ensured a clean all-round performance. Her outfit was smashing, pink tweed suit, which complemented the colour of her dog. She looks so at ease in the ring, despite the crowds watching, and I felt she was calm and stayed in control, having full control of her dog. 

3 Abigail Kirkwood-Emery, Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshund. Abigail was up the front of the line and initially she caught my eye, with her stylish confident handling. Clearly very experienced and the big ring didn’t phase her. She worked with her table dog very well  and listened to my instructions. She had good posture when moving her dog and moved it at the correct pace.


12-17 YEARS

1 Maddie Buchwald, Whippet. Have never judged Maddie before and what breath of fresh air. I noticed her from the moment she walked confidently into the ring with her Whippet, brimming with expertise and moving her dog to advantage. On closer inspection, she had the dog looking A1 on the table, showed the teeth on all three sides clearly and gently, was aware of my position but didn’t over-shadow. Her pattern work was superb, straight lines, neat corners, excellent lead work. She’s the whole package and one I will now continue to watch in the future. Very well done.

2 Amelie Smith, Parson Russell Terrier. The smartest of handlers who looks absolutely fantastic with this particular dog. I’ve loved watching her in the past and she deserved this placing in a very good class. Totally focussed on her dog, ensuring it looks like a Champion, and coupled with excellent handling skills. She looks so comfortable handling this breed of dog but has this slight air of confidence for her to stand out from the rest. A top performance and simply not enough red cards to give out!

3 Eliza Mason, Wire-Haired Dachshund. A new handler to me and very skilled and natural with her breed. She had herself beautifully presented as well as the dog in top condition which adds to the overall package. Her handling is understated but economical and very easy to watch. She was polite and kind with her dog, giving encouragement where necessary. One to watch!


18-24 YEARS – what an outstanding class to end the week on. The top 3 particularly in my opinion are world class handlers who any dog owner should be privileged to handle their dogs.

1 Lauren Goddard, Border Terrier. Lauren is one of the best handlers I’ve ever judged and today, was on top form handling her own Border Terrier who she has the most wonderful rapport with. The bond they have is second to none, and she handles him so sympathetically and he does everything she asks without hesitation. Her shadowing is so calm, quiet and not overdone. I love her style, has an air of confidence in her own ability but performs showing the dog off so your eye is drawn to her dog. Her pattern work was so accurate and she sets up the dog perfectly on every occasion knowing how to get every inch from her dog. On the table, she steps quietly out of the way so you have a clear view of her dog from every angle and teeth work was perfectly executed. In the final, she kept up this high standard of handling and I had no hesitation in awarding her YKC Show Handler of the Year. Huge congratulations.

2 Poppy Wynter, Wire Fox Terrier. Have judged Poppy before and she is also one of my favourite handlers of all time. She’s another who knows her breed inside out and can stack her dog quickly and efficiently without fuss and her lead control is sublime. Dressed beautifully in an eye-catching purple skirt suit, you don’t actually see her when she moves, because you are drawn to the dog and the way it’s briskly moving as it should for the breed. She had to settle for 2nd on the day as she made one small error on her pattern work but I’m sure will go all the way in this competition one year in the future. Very well done.

3 Luke Sampson, Whippet. Completed a trio of outstanding handlers. The girls appear to continue to dominate the handling rings however Luke is one of the best males out there in this age group and fully deserved his place. He oozes experience and shows his Whippet off to advantage. It looked superb from every angle and he matched his style of handling to his dog – it was a calm, accurate and very enjoyable performance. I understand he is now teaching some of the younger handlers, one of which won the class on the day, and that is a huge credit to him, how wonderful to be taught by someone with such a great attitude and such a skilled handler.

Young Kennel Club competitions

Not sure which competition to take part in? With finals for every discipline (see below), you will be sure to find something that you and your dog will fall in love with.

Young Kennel Club stakes final

Dog showing, or exhibiting as it is known, is the most popular canine activity in the UK. In the Young Kennel Club stakes finals, the judge will compare each dog against the official Kennel Club breed standard (which is a guide for the characteristics for that breed, including health and temperament). The dogs which come closest to the breed standard receive the top places.

Young Kennel Club handling final

YKC handling competitions let members compete against one another to find out who is the best at showing their dog. The competition is held in exactly the same format as a breed ring, but it isn't the dog being judged, it's you! 

Young Kennel Club agility dog of the year final

Dog agility is an action packed and hugely exciting sport for you and your dog. It involves loads of obstacles for your dog (not you!) to run through, jump over, and weave in and out of – and all against the clock! Not only does agility test your dog’s fitness, you can also show off your skills as a handler, directing your dog around the agility course.

Young Kennel Club obedience final

Training your dog for competitive obedience is fun, challenging and an interesting activity for you to enjoy together. Competitive obedience shows take place all over the country throughout the year, and are open for competitors of all levels to enter. 

Young Kennel Club heelwork to music final

Heelwork to music is obedience training with a twist! Your dog has to show its understanding and knowledge of training commands - but the great part is that your dog can show off their obedience skills within a dance routine with music, which has been created by you.

There are two types of HTM classes, freestyle and heelwork, and most shows stage official classes in both categories.

Young Kennel Club flyball final

Flyball competitions involve two teams of handlers and their dogs racing against each other. These competitions are great for making new friends, while enjoying time with your dog and competing.

Young person of the year award

Our annual award is the chance to celebrate young people who are transforming the lives of others. We seek to recognise young people who have overcome huge challenges, or who go above and beyond to demonstrate their love of dogs, and encourage others to become a part of the dog world.

YKC artist of the year award

The YKC offer lots of ways for young artists to practice and enter competitions. We hold one main competition a year. The winner will receive a range of prizes and have their work on display at Crufts.

Groomer of the year award

Even if you own a short-haired breed, grooming is an important part of dog care in the show ring as well as with pet dogs. Regular grooming is also a good way of checking the general health of your dog.

Want to know more?

Visit this website to find out more. Call us on 020 7518 1030 and our team will be happy to answer all your questions.