Meet 4-year-old Ellie, the youngest gundog handler in Britain

Pets win prizes?

A four-year-old girl has become the youngest person ever to qualify for the World Series Gundog Junior Handling Championship. Ellie Close, from Oughtershaw, North Yorkshire, has been dazzling country show judges across the UK.

It’s a dog’s life…

Unfortunately Ellie was left unable to compete alongside the 16 other juniors, whose ages range from eight to 15, at the Great Wall Motor World Series Gundog Junior Handling Championship at Weston Park, Shropshire, last month, because her dog Molly was in season. Ellie’s mother Louise Close told The Craven Herald: “It’s not fair to the other competitors, as the male dogs can’t concentrate.”

That must have been a blow…

“She was very disappointed, as her dad had also qualified for the adult competition, but she understood why,” Mrs Close said. “It’s just sod’s law.” The reception pupil received a rosette for her qualification and was recognised as the youngest person to ever to qualify for the final.

How did she develop such an unusual hobby?

Ellie’s parents are part of a group called “Team Spaniel”, a party of eight families who camp and compete together around the country. Ellie only began training for gun dog events herself in February this year.

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