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Emmerdale tragedy! But don't worry real Alfie the dog is enjoying his retirement

Alfie the dog Emmerdale retirement

Viewers distraught after the Dingle’s dog meets his maker in Emmerdale, but happy end for real Alfie

There won’t have been many dry eyes among Emmerdale viewers this evening, after they witnessed the Dingles saying a final goodbye to their beloved family dog Alfie.

In tonight’s episode the family found out that he had an inoperable tumour and made the heartbreaking decision to have him put down.

But Alfie’s real life owner Lynda Woodrow has revealed that the decision was made to kill off the beloved pooch so that in real life Alfie, who is now 11, can enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

"We realised Alfie was getting older as his hearing is not what it was and we felt is was kinder to put Alfie into retirement before his job got too hard for him to do it well," she explained.

But filming his death was particularly hard for his on-screen family members who admitted they shed real tears during the scene.

Alfie, whose character shares the same name, has been in Emmerdale for nine years and is the only character to feature in the show’s opening credits.

And over the years he’s been at the centre of some of the programme’s biggest storylines.

In 2010 he was poisoned when chemicals seeped into the land and later that year he was walking in Home Farm woods with Sam Dingle when he dug up Mark Wylde’s decomposing body.

He’s also been treated for eating rat poison and in May last year he was accidentally run over by Zak Dingle at a vegan fair.

Alfie has many talents including barking on command and playing dead and will be hugely missed.

"But be reassured in real life Alfie is enjoying life in retirement," Lynda consoled his loyal fans.