Crufts announces nation's top hero canine – police dog Stella

It’s been a big weekend for dog lovers. 

Crufts was back with a bang and, following on from all the beauty competitions and agility showdowns, the nation’s top heroic canine has now been revealed.

Police dog Stella has been announced as the winner of The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award competition for 2023.

Despite having recently retired from Gloucestershire police after serving for eight and a half years, nine-year-old Stella scooped the award for this year.

The pooch had a rough start to life as an RSPCA rescue dog, but trained hard to become the first Staffordshire Bull Terrier police dog in the UK in 2014.

During her career, she’s worked hard to keep the nation safe – including uncovering weapons and thousands of pounds worth of drugs and cash,  alongside her owner PC Claire Todd.

In other words, she’s a bit of a canine hero.

Not only that, but her good deeds extent to outside of working hours, too. 

During her down time, she also helped people overcome their fear of dogs during school and community talks.

Stella was one of five dog finalists shortlisted for The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award competition in February.

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.’

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. 

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