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New Milton 10-year-old Harry Fitches qualifies for Crufts after showing Australian shepherd Stanley for first time at Bournemouth Championship Dog Show

A New Milton 10-year-old is off to Crufts this weekend after qualifying with his first attempt at showing a dog.

Harry Fitches and Australian shepherd Stanley will take their place at the world’s biggest dog show on Saturday, and his mum Allison said the family couldn’t believe it.

“It was amazing when Harry won the competition to qualify, we are all just so excited he is going be at Crufts.”

Harry Fitches with Australian shepherd Stanley
Harry Fitches with Australian shepherd Stanley

Harry’s grandmother Ursula Fitches breeds Australian shepherds, and gave the family a puppy two years ago.

Allison said: “My sister-in-law showed him two years ago in a competition and he qualified for Crufts then, but we couldn’t get to it as it was really bad snow that year.

“Then last year Harry decided he wanted to show Stanley himself. We were a bit dubious as he had never done it before.

“But he entered the Bournemouth Championship Dog Show in August.

“We warned him not to get too excited and it was highly unlikely he would win and get to Crufts.”

On the day, Stanley did well in running around the ring, but Allison said he “got a bit excited” when it came to the judge’s inspection.

She said: “Stanley is not a show dog, he is a family pet, so he is not very good at standing still.

Harry Fitches with Stanley as a pup
Harry Fitches with Stanley as a pup

“He loves people so when the judge came over he was very happy to see him.

“We were so shocked when the judge gave him first place – and I think so were most of the people there!”

Allison said Harry has been practising with Stanley when he gets home from Bransgore Primary School.

She said: “They are doing very well, but Stanley is still not very good at standing still. Harry is trying to do it better by giving him treats.

“I think Harry is going to be a bit shocked when he gets to Crufts and realises how massive a show it is.

“We are all a bit worried but Harry is confident and really excited about taking part.

Stanley is "not very good at standing still"
Stanley is "not very good at standing still"

“His grandma is really proud of him.”

Harry added: "I am so excited to be going to Crufts. I am looking forward to showing Stanley off.

"He's been doing really well in his training but he is still not too good at standing still, but I think he will do really well on the day."

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