It’s a dog’s life for sixth-former Emily Green – and she is loving every minute of it after winning a first prize at Crufts this week with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Hattie.
Emily, of Deepcar, may be only 18, but she has more than a decade of experience in the competition field, having entered her first event at the age of six.
The Sheffield High School student was born into a family of dog-lovers. She and here parents, Steve and Jeanette, currently share their home with four dogs: Bernese Mountain Dogs Yent (10), Hattie (6) and Hilda (2) and working sheepdog Harvey.
The Bernese is a large breed, growing up to 70cm in height and weighing up to 50kg.
The family all are involved in breeding and training the dogs and Emily shares responsibility for their daily care.
“Winning at shows is just a bonus – I thoroughly enjoy the preparation and grooming of the dogs,” she says.
The Greens are key members of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain and, as acknowledged experts in the breed, are kept busy judging and competing in events all over the UK and abroad.
Recent engagements for Emily have included the Birmingham National Show and Blackpool Championship Show.
She also judged the Junior Handling competition at the dog club’s annual championship at Stoneleigh.
At the end of last year she took part in a show in Switzerland, where the breed originated. All the family’s dogs were graded ‘excellent’ and earned places in the ring of honour.
“It’s not just the winning, it’s good to see like-minded friends there too,” says Emily.
But the undoubted highlight of her year so far came at the UK’s top dog show last Thursday.
An experienced Crufts competitor, she was thrilled when Hattie – or Waldershelf Happy Hattie, to give the dog its full kennel name – beat ten others to win first place.
Emily then went on to represent the breed on the Discover Dogs stand, where visitors have a chance to meet owners and discuss the characteristics of pedigree breeds.
“As the Bernese have such striking colours, and such calm temperaments, they often attract vast numbers of the public.
“And the children always end up cuddling them on the floor,” says Emily, who also took part in displays, teaching dog-owners how to train their pets for the show ring.
She is back at school this week, with exams looming, but is already looking forward to the next competition.