A little dog rescued from "death row" in the Lower Hutt pound came top for obedience and agility at the Black Hawk New Zealand National Championship in Porirua.

Glenn Armitage took on the terrier cross from the dog pound six years ago. On Saturday he and Buddy came first in the Rally-O event at New Zealand's biggest dog show.

Buddy reached the level of Excellent B in Rally-O, a New Zealand Kennel Club discipline. He won a ribbon, bags of dog food, a certificate and a small amount of cash.

Christine Warren and her dog Poppy are also climbing up the Rally-O rankings. Photo / supplied
Christine Warren and her dog Poppy are also climbing up the Rally-O rankings. Photo / supplied

Another Whanganui competitor, Christine Warren with dog Poppy, reached Novice B ranking in Rally-O.

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"She is going to make it all the way to the top as well," Armitage said.

Whanganui's Armitage is no stranger to dogs, and has usually competed with border collies. Six years ago when he was living in Porirua he took a fancy to having a "lapdog". His wife had a librarian friend who worked in Lower Hutt and showed him pictures of a hairy little terrier at the Lower Hutt pound.

Buddy - called Bumble then - had been there three months and he may be a cross between a Jack Russell and a Chinese crested terrier.

People had said they would take him, but failed to come and get him. He was full of life, "a little bit crazy", and was nearly euthanased twice because the pound couldn't go on keeping him.

Armitage liked his picture, and when they met the two hit it off straight away. Pound staff inspected the Armitage property, and handed the dog over.

The little terrier looked scruffy, and Armitage trimmed the hair from his eyes and groomed him. Within two days of leaving the pound he had "kennel cough", an infectious respiratory disease. But he proved bright, easy to train and very loyal.

"He was Dad's boy from Day 1. He doesn't leave my side. My wife says I love him more than I love her, and I will not argue with the woman of the house."

Buddy is ever so clever and very loyal to owner Glenn Armitage. Stuart Munro Whanganui Chronicle
Buddy is ever so clever and very loyal to owner Glenn Armitage. Stuart Munro Whanganui Chronicle

Buddy and Armitage compete at a lot of shows, and Buddy has become a favourite with the judges. His wife calls him "the Brad Pitt of dogs" - universally appealing.

Everyone wants to cuddle and pat Buddy, because he is cute, friendly and lively.

"He has got a big fan club around New Zealand. They all cheer when he goes around the ring."

Buddy is now about 7 and Armitage plans to keep him competing, aiming for ever higher titles in Rally-O.

He said the wins were good for Whanganui and the Wanganui Dog Training Club.

"This will put Whanganui on the map and get people talking."