A dog-walker was shocked to discover a mysterious animal skull washed up on a West Cumbrian beach.

Judith Herbert, of Egremont, had been walking her dogs on Braystones beach when she made the startling discovery.

At first she thought it was from a seal but on closer inspection saw that it looked like a dog skull.

“It was the dogs that sniffed it out,” she said. “The vertebrae was still in tact. The tides had been high the day before so this animal had been washed up. I would never expect to find a dog skull on the beach. I was shocked.”

Judith returned to the beach the following day to collect the remains and took them to Galemire Veterinary Hospital in Cleator Moor. They were examined by a vet who has confirmed they are from a canine.

A spokesman for the veterinary hospital said there was no evidence of any damage to the skull but could not shed any further light on what may have happened to the animal.

The remains would need to be examined by a veterinary pathologist for a more detailed analysis of its demise.

Judith is concerned they could be from a missing dog.

She said: “It’s very upsetting. It’s possible this animal could be someone’s missing pet.

"There wasn’t much to go on because there wasn’t much flesh left on it.

"This dog has been under water for some time.

“It could have come from anywhere. My biggest worry is it was an animal that was lost.

"There could be somebody out there looking for that dog. It could bring someone closure.”

Judith said the remains are being held in a freezer at the veterinary hospital and if nobody comes forward, she would like to have them cremated.

“It’s a soul,” she said. “I just feel so sad about this animal and what has actually happened to it. It’s just a shame.”