Charley Barley takes top prize at Crufts!

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A Golden Retriever puppy named after a famous Stornoway butcher has taken a top puppy prize at Crufts 2013.

‘Charley Barley of Crobeag’ won the Best Overall Golden Retriever puppy and has automatically qualified for Crufts next year.

Named after Charles Macleod, better known as Charlie Barley, the dog was bred by the Saunderson family in Elgin from their Golden Retriever Whisper. Charlie (pedigree name Charley but pet name Charlie) was one of eleven puppies which have the kennel name ‘Crobeag Golden Retrievers.’

This stems from a link of friendship between the two families and first started when breeder Esme Saunderson’s father, David Bell, worked for Charles Macleod as a digger driver back in the 1980s. In June 1992 Esme and her husband Chris spent their honeymoon in the Macleod’s holiday home in Crobeag as a wedding gift from the Stornoway family.

14 month old Charlie the Golden Retriever beat 14 other dogs from across the world to win the dog puppy award and was then up against the bitch puppy for the overall title, which he won.

He was handled by Esme and Chris’ daughter Becky (17) who said: “It was really special to win at Crufts with Charlie, especially as we bred him at home. This was our first success in the breed ring at Crufts, which is an amazing show and the highlight of the year.”

Charlie is owned by Mark Fraser from Rothes but is handled by the Saunderson’s at shows around the country. The family also own Charlie’s sister, Caoimhe, who finished 2nd out of 27 dogs in the bitch puppy class. If she had won brother and sister would have been up against each other for the overall title.

On hearing the news of his namesake, previous owner of Crobeag Charles Macleod better known as Charlie Barley said: “I was thrilled to hear from our old family friends and to learn that they have named their prize winning puppy after me is a real privilege, especially as the pedigree is so good it’s become a Crufts champion!

“The family friendship started when Davie Bell came to work in Crobeag in the 1980s and has continued through the generations. We are delighted to see the ‘Barley’ connection with Crobeag lives on even after it changed hands last year.”

Pictured is Becky with Charley and Caoimhe.