UK

Crufts 2013 Begins With A Bark As Dogs Take To The Catwalk In Snoods And Boots (PICTURES)

07/03/2013 13:48 GMT

The annual Crufts dog show turned into something of a catwalk contest today as pampered pets arrived in rain coats, their paws clad in winter boots.

More than 27,000 animals are expected to descend on Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre for the annual show - with many donning the latest in canine wet-weather fashion.

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A doggy snood

While some turned out in nose-to-tail waterproofs, others arrived wrapped in blankets and in one case, even sporting a snood.

Owners left nothing to chance, employing a range of novel methods to ensure their immaculately-groomed animals arrived at the competition without a potentially devastating dip in a puddle.

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A soggy doggy

Dominico Traversri opted to hoist Afghan dog Louis onto his shoulders in a fireman's lift while another pet was wheeled into the event in a cage.

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One owner carries his Afghan hound to the show

The Kennel Club estimates around 145,000 people will visit the four-day celebration which includes contests to assess agility, heelwork and other disciplines.

A record 2,131 dogs from 41 overseas countries will travel to Birmingham for the annual show, including entrants from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, none of which have been represented at Crufts before.

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A dachshund meets a Irish WolfHound

A total of 13 new breeds will be making their debut at the event, which has attracted more than 20,500 dogs to its breed-judging, gamekeepers' classes and obedience championships.

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Whippets arrive for the show

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: "The Kennel Club and Crufts committee wish to thank all of those taking part in Crufts 2013 for their support.

"The fact that dog owners continue to come in their thousands to celebrate their dogs on the world's most famous dog stage is testament to what a special place Crufts holds in the hearts of dog lovers throughout the world."

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Cirneco dell'Etna hounds at Crufts

Among the main attractions at the 2013 show is the return of the Crufts Factor competition, the Friends for Life award, and Sunday's decision on the prestigious Best in Show title.

Ms Kisko added: "Crufts really is a fantastic event. One of my favourite competitions is Friends for Life - each year we hear amazing stories of how dogs have helped people pull through illnesses, given those with disabilities a new lease of life or worked with search teams to rescue those in need."

This year's Friends for Life contenders include a Birmingham-based police dog which has been involved in more than 285 arrests and once sniffed out a £10,000 cache of stolen power tools.