TOP dog Charlie was named therapy dog of the year at Crufts.

The Airedale, from Leyburn, North Yorkshire carried off the title as the dog with the biggest heart.

He lives with owner Ruth Boyes and has spent the past two years helping and working with vulnerable and elderly people. He’s even spent time behind bars helping prisoners connect with normal life.

While many dogs dedicate their time to chasing sticks and running after balls Charlie likes nothing better than comforting and befriending folk.

He’s also been to two seminars at the University of Leeds School of Medicine demonstrating the benefits of pets as therapy to student doctors.

Charlie is a regular visitor at Whorlton Hall Hospital in Durham working with adults with severe learning difficulties and at HMP Wealstun, Wetherby helping prisoners. And on his own doorstep he visits elderly residents at the Brentwood Care Home.

Ms Boyes said:”I’m absolutely over the moon. I couldn’t believe it when I realised he had won. All the finalists stories are amazing and they all deserved to win, but of course I’m glad it was Charlie.”

Pets as Therapy has more than 5,000 volunteers providing animal therapy to thousands of people every week.

Charlie was nominated by the homes and establishments he visits and from six finalists, members of the public voted him number one.

Charlie and Ms Boyes received £500 and three months supply of Hi Life dog food, the sponsors of the event.