An American cocker spaniel has been crowned Best in Show at Crufts 2017 – a day after being branded “a joke” by furious dog lovers.
Two year-old Afterglow Miami Ink, handled by owner Jason Lynn from Blackpool, was given the top award by Judge Jeff Horswell.
The pup’s distinctive long-flowing and tricolour coat and high-set tail wowed the crowds, while Mr Lynn praised the breed for its merry temperament.
But some viewers were still angry that the cocker spaniel had yesterday won the Best in Group in the gundog category.
One fan said on Twitter: “That spaniel can’t be classed as a gun dog never mind best in show!”
Another said: “Why do hand bag #dogs always seem to win #Crufts. That thing that won isn’t a real dog. Gun dog, my foot.”
One owner Ben Redman posted a photograph of his own gundog next to the Crufts’ winner, writing: “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?”
And another furious viewer tweeted: “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.”
Gundogs are hunting dogs trained to find and retrieve game, usually birds, for hunters.
There are several types of gundog, with multiple breeds performing various functions.
English Cocker Spaniels are gundogs, used to flush out game from deep brush. American Cocker Spaniels are closely related to their English counterparts, but are usually bred as show dogs instead of working dogs.
After receiving the trophy with Miami Ink, Mr Lynn said: “He’s pretty special and honestly I’m speechless. I’m absolutely shocked and thrilled.
“This is kind of a special place to be and being here a few years ago prepared me for all the noise and excitement.
“Temperament is probably the hallmark of the breed – his happy, wagging tail and his charisma.”
It is the second year that the dog show has been plunged into controversy over its winner.
Last year the Kennel Club faced hundreds of complaints as officials admitted deliberately cutting footage from a broadcast of the prize-winning German shepherd with walking difficulties.
Three-year-old Cruaghaire Catoria, bred by Susan Cuthbert, from Fife, Scotland, had a heavily sloping back that appeared to leave its hind legs at odds with the front of its body.
Around 160,000 dog owners and lovers are estimated to have packed out the Birmingham NEC arena over the four-day competition.