Nicolas Farrugia, left, and partner James Farrugia with their champion Chihuahuas, from left Alicia, Bobby, Sammey and Winnie
A Holt man will have the eyes of the dog world on him in March as he becomes a judge at Crufts 2012.
Nicolas Farrugia, 45, has been picked as a judge at Crufts after almost 30 years breeding and judging Chihuahuas in competitions across the world.
After years of success, including winning best in breed and winning best male several times at Crufts, Mr Farrugia will be judging at the most prestigious dog show in the world from March 8-12.
Being selected as a judge at Crufts is considered the pinnacle of a judge’s career. It is a rare honour based on approval from the Kennel Club and judging seniority.
Mr Farrugia, who works for a housing association as a day job, was first nominated to be a judge seven years ago. He said: “It’s an accolade in a judge’s career. I’m looking forward to it very much. It was unexpected, nobody really knows when that magical letter is going to pop through the letterbox. For a lot of judges it never does, so to be invited is a great honour and a privilege.”
As well as being a successful breeder, competitor and judge, Mr Farrugia is also a member of the Kennel Club, the British Chihuahua Club and show manager for the South East Toy Dog Club.
At Crufts he will be a judge in several Chihuahua categories, to help determine which exhibit goes on to become best in breed, then compete in best in the toy category and potentially compete for best in show.
The honour has a slightly bittersweet tinge as Mr Farrugia and his partner James will not be allowed to enter the competition this year – denying their two champion Chihuahuas the chance of glory.
Mr Farrugia has been showing and judging since he was 17. He said: “I’ve always had a strong interest in animals and their welfare. I started at the age of 13 or 14 at the RSPCA welfare centre and then was employed as an veterinary nurse at the animal hospital in London. My interest in Chihuahuas grew from there.”