Crufts date for Chloe and her rescue dog

THEY have proved to be a formidable partnership - and this week they will be honoured at the world's most famous dog show.

Laurence Cawley

THEY have proved to be a formidable partnership - and this week they will be honoured at the world's most famous dog show.

Chloe Connell, 11, from Bury St Edmunds, and her terrier crossbreed Whiskey have won numerous dog obedience competitions across the county over the past two years.

And on Friday the dynamic duo will be called on to the main stage at Crufts to be acknowledged for coming fifth in the Rebecca Pointer Memorial Award, which recognises the Young Kennel Club's best handler-dog teams.

Chloe, whose family rescued Whiskey six years ago, was the youngest competitor in the top five and the only handler without a working sheepdog.

“Well, it is really exciting,” said Chloe. “All the other children are older than me and Whiskey is a terrier cross between a Norfolk and a Yorkshire terrier.

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“He's eight years old and he loves to roll about in sand. I would like to win lots of dog shows so I can be like my mum.”

Chloe's proud mother, Sarah Connell, who is chairman of the West Suffolk Dog Training Society, said dog obedience was something her daughter became passionate about completely independently of her own involvement in dog training.

“I did not want to push her into it, she just got interested in it by herself,” said Mrs Connell.

“I rescued Whiskey and he was a right little character. Chloe was five at the time. But about four years ago she asked me if she could have a go at dog obedience so we gave her a crash course and Whiskey had settled down by then so I thought she couldn't go wrong with him.

“It has gone from there - she's done so well with him. She's competed at Crufts with him the last two years and as you compete you get better.”

Mrs Connell said Whiskey was an unusual sight amongst the reams of immaculately well-behaved collie dogs.

“Whiskey looks like he's been stuck together with a bit of this and a bit of that. But Whiskey and Chloe have got a very tight bond and she has trained him herself.”

A spokesman for The Kennel Club said: “The presentation provides the winners with a big chance to receive the recognition that both the members and dogs deserve for working so hard at obedience shows all year. This is an amazing achievement.”