A dog lover is full of joy after her four-legged friend was voted the winner of the Echo Pet Pawtraits competition.

A whopping 71 pets were put forward by Echo readers as they went head-to-head for the top prize of a £100 high street shopping gift card.

However, 10-year-old Bailey fought off the competition and was voted by our readers as the top pet in south Essex.

Tracey Hammond, Bailey’s owner, was overjoyed when she discovered the eurasier was our top dog.

She said: “I am so proud of him for winning this competition.

“He doesn’t understand what he has achieved but I keep telling him that he has been voted the winner.

“If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t think he would win the competition.

“I saw the amount of pets who had been put forward for the award and, with everyone thinking their own pet is the best, I thought it would be difficult to come out on top.

“All of the entrants would have been deserving winners but it feels so wonderful to know Bailey has been judged as the best pet in south Essex.

“I’m so thankful to everyone who voted for Bailey.”

Tracey, of Shoebury, has owned Bailey since he was a puppy.

She admits the canine has played a key role in helping her get through a testing 14 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tracey, 58, added: “He has helped me through lockdown and I don’t know what I would have done without him over the last year or so.

“Lockdown has brought me down a bit but he has boosted my spirits.

“All of us have been made to spend prolonged periods of time indoors because of the coronavirus restrictions, but taking Bailey for a walk has allowed me to get outside each day and that has been key.

“Just going on those walks with Bailey has helped me and stopped me being stuck inside.

“I love him so much and it’s an honour for him to be voted by Echo readers as the best pet.”

Eurasier is a little known dog breed and Tracey hopes Bailey’s triumph will peak the public’s interest.

She admitted: “There are so many people, whether they are dog lovers or not, who are not knowledgeable about eurasiers.

“People mistake Bailey for other breeds but I’m hoping the eurasier will now become a much-loved breed.”