Roland, a four-year-old Hamilton Hound, was underweight when he was taken in by a rescue centre in Cambridgeshire.
He was then taken on by breeder Angela Leigh, from Great Steeping, who spent five months building his health back up with quality food and hydrotherapy exercise.
Such was the pooch’s progress that he was awarded a prestigious Best in Breed at Crufts at the weekend.
“I have been showing the breed at Crufts for more than 20 years now,” explained Angela. “But this is the first time I have ever won Best in Breed – and to do so with a rescue dog is fantastic.
“I didn’t expect to win and decided to enter him into Crufts just to make a point, really.
“Roland was very thin when the centre got him and it was heartbreaking to see.”
Angela fed him on a diet of top-quality food and slowly built up his strength.
When he was well enough, she took him swimming at PAWZ hydrotherapy and rehabilitation centre in Gosberton once or twice a week, to build his muscles back up.
She said: “I never thought we would win. It was a shock when they announced it.”
PAWZ owner Debbie Church said it was a ‘real honour’ to see Roland go on to glory at Crufts: “When he came in he was so thin and didn’t have lot of muscle on his back and shoulders,” she said. “So it was great to see his improvement.”
Roland – now the father to some of Angela’s puppies – has the kennel name Kilcavan Mr Jemmerley at Flixtonia.
But despite his formal show name, Angela concluded by saying he is very much “a well-loved pet dog first” and a show dog second.
Roland shares his home in Great Steeping with nine other Hamilton Hounds and one rescued greyhound.