A GROUP of children are hoping to be top dogs when they put their best paws forward at Crufts.

Five youngsters from the junior group of Corton Agility Training Society will be competing against others from across the country in the young kennel club team final at Crufts next month.

One member of the team, Rosie Sawyer, 10, who is a pupil at Broad Town CofE Primary School, will also be competing individually.

Jillian Sawyer, head trainer and secretary of the club, said: “The juniors all run and train either their own dogs or family dogs and put a lot of work and training into them during club time and at home.

“I am very proud of what they achieve but I am happy as long as they and their dogs enjoy the sport.”

The team, who are also trained by Becki Belcher, will be taking part in an agility course with their dogs in the competition, which takes place on March 9.

A team of juniors from Corton qualified last year and came third overall, and they also had a semi-finalist in the individual junior event.

Rosie, of Royal Wootton Bassett, is taking part in the team and also in the individual under 12 jumping final with a spitz cross collie called Dottie.

She said: “I am really confident about competing. When I am competing individually I will be on my own and I think I can come first.

“I have been practising a lot. If you want to do well you should always listen to your trainer. She tells us what to do.

“I spend a lot of time with Dottie. We do agility and we do tricks together. She is my mum’s dog, she’s had her since I was two years old.”

Also taking part in the team of five will be Becky Foster, 13, of Wroughton, with working sheepdog Lacey.

“I am very excited but I am quite nervous as well,” she said.

“I was in it last year with a different dog when we came third. It’s really scary when everyone is watching.”

Also taking part are Josh Belcher,11, with a border terrier called Rudi, Emily Belcher, eight, with a Westie Maltese cross called Dinkie, and Millie Sawyer, 10, with a Jack Russell terrier called Tickle.

The team will also be competing against dog handlers across the world this month when they take part in the Open Junior Agility Championship.

Rosie won the overall under 12 medium champion there last year.

The team thanked Advanced Imaging Systems for sponsoring them and Bassett Signs and Graphics for producing their clothing.

Corton Agility Training Society, which welcomes handlers of all ages, usually train at Corton Manor near Royal Wootton Bassett. For more information visit www.cortonagility.co.uk or email jillian@thedoghouse.me.uk.