Dogs were put through their paces outside the Scottish Parliament and judges from the Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club also put MSPs through theirs, quizzing them on key canine welfare issues.
Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, came out on top with her one-year-old hound Mabel, but the politician was humble in victory.
“There aren’t winners here today because I think the dogs are all wonderful,” said the former deputy presiding officer.
“I think the issue is about highlighting animal welfare, dog welfare, and the fact I’m bringing a Bill forward in Parliament to make sure when people acquire a puppy, just like Mabel, (they) do their homework first and they make sure they’ve got the right household, they can afford it, and have the right lifestyle.”
“I want to stop people from buying online or from puppy factory farms. (Mabel) is a puppy that was in a super litter, was brought up properly, she’s in a happy household, all dogs should have that in their lives.”
Edinburgh is known across the world as the home of Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal Skye terrier who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his master John Gray until he died himself in January 1872.
And, a short walk away from where his statue continues to attract the interest of the capital’s tourists, the annual competition celebrated the unique bond between dogs and their owners.
Owen Sharp, the chief executive of the Dogs Trust, said it had been a “brilliant opportunity to celebrate dogs and to just make a great fuss of the great dogs in the lives of parliamentarians and staff around Holyrood”.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision, there were some fantastic dogs and some fantastic MSPs, but Mabel won for a couple of reasons,” he said.
“Firstly, (she) was very clearly a big part of the team in Christine’s office – it’s not just about MSPs dogs but about dogs which are part of the team but, also, Christine’s doing some really brilliant work to highlight many, many aspects of dog ownership in Scotland so we felt it was a really fitting winner of Holyrood dog of the year.”
Coming in second was Pam Duncan-Glancy, MSP for the Glasgow region, with her cockapoo Tony. And taking third place on the podium was Dogs Trust dog Ollie, who was being looked after by Clare Adamson.
Mabel may have won round the judges but Bluesy the greyhound, being looked after by MSP Mark Ruskell, won the public’s affection.
“It shows the real public interest there is in greyhound racing and bringing an end to greyhound racing, and reforming it, but I think it also shows just what a great breed greyhounds are to be rehomed as well,” the MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said.
“They make amazing family pets, they are so chilled out, they’re great with children, so it’s really nice to highlight just how important greyhounds are as a breed as well.”
It is the fourth dog of the year competition in Holyrood. Emma Harper, Maurice Golden, and Jeremy Balfour have been named victors in the past.