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Crufts Best in Show 2017 branded a 'joke' as fans say American Cocker Spaniel looks nothing like a working dog

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 12/03/2017 By Sophie Jamieson and Tracey Kandohla

Crufts Best in Show 2017 branded a 'joke' as fans say American Cocker Spaniel looks nothing like a working dog Crufts Best in Show has been awarded to an American Cocker Spaniel called "Afterglow Miami Ink".

The dog  came away with the show's top prize after winning Best in Gundog Group a day earlier.

Will Miami get the double and win #TheJump as well as #Crufts ? Stay tuned to find out... pic.twitter.com/eqNW7apse6

— Channel 4 (@Channel4) March 12, 2017

But the champion was a controversial choice for some viewers of the competition, who suggested that the animal did not look like a normal working dog.

One fan said on Twitter: "That spaniel can't be classed as a gun dog never mind best in show!"

Another complained: "Why do hand bag #dogs always seem to win #Crufts . That thing that won isn't a real dog. Gun dog, my foot."

One is #crufts2017 Gun dog champion. One is an actual gun dog. Can you see why us real working dog folk can't take #Crufts seriously? pic.twitter.com/3wbeFHUMif

— Ben Redman (@cows94) March 11, 2017

#crufts an hour and a half giving a Gundog a wash and blow dry and, bless him, he needs a rest. Crufts is ludicrous.

— Will Bateman (@plasticpaddy1) March 12, 2017

The spaniel, known to his owner simply as "Miami", has a long, groomed coat. So spectacular is his fur that some compared him to the singer Sia.

One person wrote: "I believe there is a dog on #Crufts wearing Sia's wig".

Pretty sure Sia just won Best in Show at #Crufts

— Gee (@StaleyGee) March 12, 2017

Congrats Sia #crufts2017

— Grace Dent (@gracedent) March 12, 2017

Popstar Sia is known for keeping her face hidden, wearing wigs with heavy fringes that cover her eyes.

And the Spaniel's black-and-white coat bore striking similarities to the singer's hairstyle. 

Caroline Kisko, Crufts spokesman, said: “Many of the dogs which belong to the gundog group in the UK may not necessarily work in the field but they retain their working instincts. 

"Gundog breeds, such as the Labrador and Cocker Spaniel, are some of the most popular in the country, offering love and companionship to hundreds of thousands of people and those relationships are what are celebrated at Crufts, in the many competitions and activities at the show.”

The Kennel Club describes gundogs as those "originally trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that had been shot and wounded".

The organisation says gundogs tend to make "good companions, their temperament making them ideal all-round family dogs". 

I want my money back. Our dogs look nothing like a bred for purpose, perfect example of a working spaniel. #crufts2017pic.twitter.com/Hxjgi0at4X

— Hollibeat Gundogs (@HollibeatGundog) March 12, 2017

This won Best Gundog! 1 it's probably never seen a gun and 2 it's never see work. This is a Gundog! #crufts2017 it's a joke. pic.twitter.com/oRwStM2HST

— Working Gun Dogs (@gunworkingdog) March 12, 2017

@CACampaigns now that's a gundog @CruftsFanspic.twitter.com/M5B8GafKkB

— kevin leach (@KevinleachKevin) March 12, 2017

Judge Jeff Horswell picked the two-year-old dog from Blackpool as the show's overall winner.

Owner Jason Lynn praised Miami's "happy wagging tail" and "charisma" as he received the award.

"He’s pretty special. I’m speechless and absolutely shocked and thrilled," he told presenter Clare Balding. 

It’s that incredible moment we’ve all been waiting for, as the #Crufts 2017 Best In Show winner is announced! pic.twitter.com/geO5XNXGSQ

— The Kennel Club (@KCLovesDogs) March 12, 2017

Crufts has attracted controversy this year for the way handlers are holding leads.

The RSPCA has suggested the practice is causing dogs distress and risks physical harm. 

The four-day competition sees 160,000 people flock to the Birmingham NEC arena, with entries from 56 different countries. 

Now in its 126th year, the competition has hosted hundreds of cross-breeds that are ranked by their agility, obedience and heelwork to music ability, among other skills.

Reserve Best in Show went to Melanie Harwood from Blackburn, Lancashire, with her Miniature Poodle Frankie Minarets Best Kept Secret.

She echoed the winner’s words “I’m speechless” and added she was “so pleased for Jason” who lives in the same county.  

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