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13th Mar 2023

Retired police dog named as country’s top hero dog at Crufts

Charlie Herbert

After starting out life as a rescue, Stella went on to become the country’s first Staffordshire Bull Terrier police dog

A retired police dog has been named the the top hero dog in the UK at Crufts.

Stella, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was named the winner of The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award competition for 2023.

Stella, who worked for Gloucestershire Police for eight and a half years, was named as one of the five finalists for the award back in February.

The canine had a difficult start to life as an RSPCA rescue dog, but in 2014 she became the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier police dog in the UK.

She worked as a police drugs, cash and firearms recovery dog, and found weapons and thousands of pounds worth of drugs and cash during her time with the force, ITV News reports.

She also helped people overcome their fear of dogs during school and community visits.

Proud Claire and Stella were presented with their award and a cheque for £5,000 from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust for a dog charity of their choice.

The four other finalists also received £1,000 for their chosen dog charity for making it to the prestigious final. 

Speaking about Stella’s award, owner Claire said: “It is just incredible, I’m speechless. Really it is amazing and we are so grateful for everyone that has voted. All the dogs are such worthy winners so we are over the moon.

“Stella is so special because she is a rescue dog and also the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the country to be a police dog and she has been worth her weight in gold to me.

“It’s brilliant the work police dogs do, they don’t realise how important their job is but to us it is invaluable. The police dogs are incredible and do such an incredible job.

“I was holding back the tears, I didn’t expect to win.”

Crufts show manager Vanessa McAlpine said: “Their story is truly inspirational and they are so deserving of this award.

“All the finalists perfectly demonstrated not only the incredible bond they share, but also the positive impact dogs have on all our lives.

“All the dogs and owners have transformed each other’s lives for the better and we thank them all for sharing their stories with us. They are all heroes.”

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