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Holcombe Harriers make history at Crufts

History was made on Sunday 10 March when two hounds from the Holcombe Harriers became the first working harriers from a registered pack to compete at Crufts where they claimed a number of prizes, including the best in breed championship title in the harrier section.

It was an early start for the Lancashire-based pack which had qualified Holcombe Anglezarke and Holcombe President for what is known as the world’s greatest dog show, held at the NEC in Birmingham. Holcombe President started their visit off well when landing the open harrier dog class in the hound section, with Holcombe Anglezarke taking the equivalent class for the bitches. The two went head-to-head for the championship along with the winners of the other harrier classes, with Anglezarke taking the overall best in breed title and President being awarded the best opposite sex accolade. These results mean that both hounds are automatically qualified to return in 2025.

Holcombe Harriers at Crufts 2024_Credit_1400x930px

The hounds were beautifully shown by the huntsman of the Holcombe, Mark Dickson-Bradley, who was supported on the day by the Masters and many Holcombe supporters including Mark’s husband Chris, who helped Mark by leading up Anglezarke in the championship when both hounds qualified.

Senior-master of the Holcombe Harriers, Sue Simmons, who is also vice-chairman of the Association of the Masters of Harriers and Beagles (AMHB), was delighted:

“We were blown away by the results on what was a tremendous day for Team Holcombe, winning both respective classes as well as champion for the breed section at Crufts 2024. The hounds really enjoyed the atmosphere and were professionally shown by our huntsman Mark, who, along with the whole team, ensured the hounds were in fabulous show condition.”

“We’ve all thoroughly enjoyed the experience which has given us a platform to speak to a wider audience about our hounds and to explain how they take part in lawful trail hunting activities,” Sue continued.

Polly Portwin, Director of the Campaign for Hunting at the Countryside Alliance said:

“Seeing these working harriers compete successfully on a worldwide stage at Crufts for the first time has been a great opportunity to promote the rare breed harrier and to give people an insight into the high standards at which working hounds are kept, with animal welfare a priority in hunt kennels across the country. Congratulations to all involved at the Holcombe.”

The hunt’s journey to Crufts began in June 2023 when the Holcombe’s working hounds took part in a Crufts’ qualifier class at the prestigious Blackpool Canine Society Dog Show held at Redwood Park, near Preston. It was reported at the time that the judges were “left in no doubt that the Holcombe entries highlighted the best in conformation, movement and temperament.”


Image credit: Chris Dickson-Bradley

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