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Video: Top dog’s Crufts win is a dream come true
Buy this photo » Gavin Robertson with his Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Jilly
AFTER being hounded by the media for winning Crufts, top dog Jilly can now look forward to a life of relaxation at home near Wallingford.
The three-year-old Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen beat more than 20,000 dogs over the four-day competition to take the coveted title of Best in Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
The win was a boyhood dream come true for breeder Gavin Robertson and wife Sara, both 39.
Mr Robertson said: “I’m completely floating on air. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful feeling.”
The Robertsons are retiring Jilly from competitions after she took the top prize.
Now she can relax at home with mum Dizzy and another basset called Mini the family keep as a pet – before breeding later this year.
Mr Robertson, who moved to Oxfordshire from Edinburgh 11 years ago, has been going to Crufts since he was boy and had always wanted to win the prestigious top prize.
Two years ago Jilly came close when she finished second in the Best in Show category.
- Video courtesy of Sportsbeat
Mr Robertson, who runs Avalon Kennels in Icknield Way, Benson, and lives there with Mrs Robertson and two children, Oliver, six, and Erin, three, added: “I didn’t think I’d actually ever be sat next to this trophy so it’s fantastic.
“I’ve come to this show since I was a little boy and every year I’ve watched and thought I’d love to be in that place and that position – to finally be here doesn’t feel real.”
Mrs Robertson added: “We have shown dogs for 30 years so this is a pinnacle, a dream come true.”
Mr Robertson said Jilly’s “attitude and showmanship” made her stand out as a show dog.
He said: “She rises to the occasion and loves the limelight and that’s what makes a great show dog. She knows when people are clapping her and when we met the press after the show on Sunday she lapped it up in front of the cameras – she’s a real diva.”
Mr Robertson added: “We do breed dogs and work in the animal industry but first and foremost this is a hobby for us. I’d decided months ago I would retire Jilly, no matter what.”
Mr Robertson’s top tip for other Crufts competitors is that they shouldn’t “over-train” their dogs. He said: “You have to make it fun for your dog.”
The Best in Show winner’s name is engraved on the trophy. The winner also receives £100.
Jilly's mum Dizzy and dad Cappuccino both won Best of Breed at Crufts.
Jilly weighs just under 15kg and is fed once a day on Royal Canin dog food containing biscuit, chicken, rice and protein oil.
In the run-up to competitions she is walked 4.5 miles a day, six days a week, and completed 250 miles around Wallingford before Crufts.
Jilly’s “naturally harsh” coat is usually brushed once a week with her ears and nails checked at the same time.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen originates from the Vendée region of France and is used for hunting.