RAE Ganna and her six-year-old otterhound, Hugo, were top dog at last year’s Crufts, and the pair are determined to put Hayes back on the map with another victory in 2013.

Hugo was one of more than 25,000 dogs last year at Birmingham’s NEC for the world’s most prestigious dog show, Crufts, presented by the Kennel Club.

But, despite the sheer numbers, Hugo stood out, walking away with the Best of Breed award for the second year running.

Rae and Hugo are returning to the West Midlands this year and the Crufts veteran admits she has her sights set on finishing top of the pile again.

But, whatever the outcome, Helen insists it is simply an honour to be heading back as a reigning champion with the Kennel Club celebrating 140 years of promoting healthy, happy dogs at the pinnacle of the showing calendar.

“Hugo is going back to Crufts this year and we are getting there in terms of preparation. It is a very busy time right now,” said Rae.

“Who knows what will happen in terms of keeping hold of his title, with it being a different judge this year and Hugo being a year older.

“But we will see. It is all about what happens on the day and you can never really predict it, but he could be in with a chance.

“Hugo has actually won Best of Breed for the last two years and he is going for the hat-trick. If he was to get that, it would be wonderful.

“In winning last year he became the top otterhound of all time.

“He has already done an awful lot for the breed, and to get the hat-trick would be the icing on the cake.

“Crufts is the biggest and most prestigious dog show in the world. It is a very exciting place to go and, whether you win or don’t, it is still an honour to show there."