A woman from the Isle of Man and her beloved pet pooch have won one of the top honors at this year’s ‘Cruftscompetition.

Janine Coleman and her dog Ella - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller for short) - won the ‘intermediate ABC (anything but collies) agility’ category during the competition at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Organized by the Kennel Club, Crufts is an international dog show held annually in the UK since 1981, which displays a range of skills such as agility and jumping.

Asked how Ella qualified for the Crufts competition, Janine said: ‘I have been chasing qualification for the intermediate novice ABC for the best part of 2023.

‘There are 10 qualifying heats held during the year at various locations across the UK.

The top ten places at the heats are awarded points which are accumulated over the year. ‘The top 15 dogs and handlers with the most points then compete in a semi-final to decide on the final eight dogs to compete at Crufts.

The semi-final was held at the London International Horse show at the Excel venue in December 2023.

‘It takes a lot of dedication, time, and commitment to qualify for the ABC class as you need to travel to numerous shows in the UK to qualify.

Training is ongoing throughout the year.

‘I like to do at least three training sessions per week with Ella.

Training needs to be varied as every course is different and you only get one opportunity to get it right.’

Janine and Ella competed in one jumping round and one agility round during the competition, coming second in the jumping and first in the agility - first overall.

This was the first time Janine had competed at Crufts, and she claimed it ‘did not disappoint’.

She said: ‘It was a dream come true to compete on the green carpet at the most prestigious dog show in the world.

‘I didn’t know what to expect, but it didn’t disappoint.

‘The atmosphere was amazing with all the lights, music, and crowd cheering you on. It’s extremely daunting stepping out for the first time, but all the preparation is done and there’s nothing more you can do but try to hold your nerve and smile.

‘I loved every minute of the experience and it’s something I will never forget.

‘Ella is such a special dog and I cannot put into words just how proud I am of her.

‘Ella qualified for the ABC novice when she was grade five.

‘She is now grade six, and it’s my ambition to get her to grade seven to be able to compete at the top level in championship classes.’