You would be forgiven for expecting a dog who has won international agility honours to be an irrepressible bundle of energy, but Peacehaven trainer Lucas Irwin-Burns would be the first to disagree.

The 16-year-old has qualified for The Young Kennel Club’s Outstanding Young Person award with eight-year-old Sam, a Jack Russell/Cavalier cross with plenty of pedigree on the biggest stage.

The pair have won every junior title in England together as well as European junior bronze in 2018, achievements that would suggest an indefatigable nature from both man and dog.

And while Lucas might question that assertion, he wouldn’t trade Sam and their success for the world.

“He’s really sweet to be around, really lazy – funnily enough,” he said.

"He just lays in bed all day! He’s really cuddly, really nice to be around.

“Sam was one of the first one that I started doing a lot more stuff internationally with and competing at Crufts as well.

“Him being a more successful dog has given me and him more opportunities for future events such as going to the try-outs for the team this year and getting the win on spot as well.

“He gave me experience when I was younger to then train our younger dogs now to hopefully get to the level that Sam’s at now, and hopefully give me the experience as well.”

Sam will return to the NEC in Birmingham this year as Lucas prepares for his fourth YKC final at the world-famous dog show.

The annual award celebrates young people who are transforming the lives of others, recognising those going above and beyond or overcoming huge challenges to demonstrate their love of dogs, and encourage others to become a part of the dog world.

Featuring categories such as Good Buddy of the Year and Champion Volunteer of the Year, Irwin-Burns is preparing for a busy weekend in May, set to compete across several disciplines alongside Sam, a special prospect for the youngster.

“I was going to Crufts when I was younger, so it was one of the bigger events I went to that meant a lot,” he continued.

“I’ve grown up going to Crufts, so it still means a lot and I see it as something that I can push myself for and treat it like it’s an international event because me and Sam have been there a fair few times.

“It’s something that I like to go and do well at and it’s been there since I was younger.

“We’ve got a few different classes as well that we haven’t done before. It’s quite exciting and will be a different experience competition-wise and atmosphere-wise than just being in the juniors.”