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Paw-liticians' pooches rewarded at Holyrood's dog of the year awards


Big round of a-paws goes to Marie McNair's terrier Heidi

Heidi, a Biewer Terrier, has been crowned winner of the prestigious Holyrood Dog of the Year competition.

Heidi, who entered the event with MSP Marie McNair, Scottish National Party MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, impressed the judges with her loveable character as well as her strong bond with McNair.

The sixth Holyrood Dog of the Year competition, organised by The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, took place today in the Scottish Parliament Member’s Garden, Edinburgh. Heidi showed dogged determination as she battled it out to defeat eight other opponents to win the coveted title of Holyrood Dog of the Year, arguably the most sought-after accolade in Scottish politics.

Winning MSP, Marie McNair said of their winning moment: “Absolutely shocked to win today, it’s really really great!

“Heidi is owned by one of my staffers, so I’m really pleased for her owner as well!”

This year’s competition was all about celebrating the unique bond between humans and their canine companions and the positive impact that dog ownership can bring into our lives. The event encourages an open dialogue on dog welfare issues, as well as providing an opportunity for MSPs to meet with experts to discuss all aspects of the canine world.

The judging panel – Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive at The Kennel Club; Owen Sharp, Dogs Trust Chief Executive; and David Torrance MSP, 2023 winner of Holyrood Dog of the Year - spent the morning with dogs from different political persuasions and ambitions.

Commenting on the reason Heidi was selected as the 2024 Holyrood Dog of the Year, judge Bill Lambert said: “Congratulations to Heidi and Marie for being crowned the sixth winners of Holyrood Dog of the Year!  It was a well-deserved win and the bond between the pair was clear to see today.

“There was strong competition from all the competing MSPs and their dogs and we’d like to thank all those who took part. Holyrood Dog of the Year is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the issues currently affecting the nation’s dogs.” 

Owen Sharp added: “It’s always a pleasure to visit Edinburgh to witness the wonderful bonds MSPs have with their canine companions and the instant connections that are forged with MSPs who enter with one of our fantastic rescue dogs. 

“Dogs are devoted members of the family, who shower us with unconditional love, joy and laughter, and Holyrood Dog of the Year is all about celebrating these special relationships.  Congratulations to Heidi and Marie who won today due to their unique bond which was evident for all to see.”

Leading the opposition in second place was Alfie, a Hungarian Vizsla, owned by Sue Webber, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party MSP for Central Scotland, while third place was awarded to Bramble, a Cockapoo, owned by Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrats MSP for Edinburgh Western.

Prior to the event, MSPs entering the competition campaigned hard, canvassing for votes from the public via an online vote before meeting the expert judges to share their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of devotion. Winner of the ‘pawblic’ vote was announced as Oscar, a Cockapoo, owned by Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scottish National Party MSP for Dunfermline.

Shirley-Anne MSP, winner of the public vote said of their win: “Oscar has been such a brilliant addition to the family since we got him just after lockdown, so to have him recognised by the public is just fantastic!"



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