Best Friends Triumph at the Royal Easter Show

By Nerrin Warr

Sebastian, a young Siberian Husky affectionately known as the ‘Red Devil’ for his mischievous antics, and his handler and co-owner Kaitlyn Willis, were named Best in Utility Group at the Sydney Royal Easter Show 2024.

Their partnership has quickly made Sebastian a standout, and he was also one of seven finalists for Best in Show, a remarkable achievement following their 2023 victories as Best of Breed and a Top 8 finish in his group at the same prestigious event.

“When they called Siberian Husky as the winner, it didn’t register with me at first,” Kaitlyn recalls.

“I glanced around and realised, ‘Oh my gosh, we just won.’ It’s the most incredible feeling, and Sebastian and I were the youngest team out there.”

What sets Sebastian apart is not just his breed’s characteristics; his spirited personality and the exceptional rapport he shares with Kaitlyn shine through in every performance, captivating both judges and audiences.

The victory on April 1 was even more special as it coincided with Kaitlyn’s mother’s birthday, who watched proudly from the crowd.

For Mount View resident Kaitlyn, dog showing isn’t just a hobby—it’s a family legacy.

“I was born into this,” she explains with a smile.

“Dog showing has been in my family for four generations, starting with my Great Great Aunt who originally showed Chihuahuas.”

Kaitlyn and her family travel throughout Australia showcasing their animals.

“Our main breed is cocker spaniels, but I started showing Siberian Huskies when I was 15 as a junior handler,” she shares.

“I always loved this breed and during a visit to my friend’s puppies, I met Sebastian.

At one week old, I picked him up, fell in love immediately, and knew I wanted this one,” she says, her eyes lighting up at the memory. Sebastian came into her life at a very difficult time and has been a source of comfort, enhancing her well-being mentally and physically.

As they look forward to more shows, Kaitlyn is focused on promoting purebreds and the Siberian Husky breed, hoping to maintain Sebastian’s status as a top competitor. But at the end of the day, it’s the bond they share that means the most.

“He will always choose chicken over me and is forever in mischief, but our bond is forever.”