Crufts, The World's Biggest Dog Show, Gets Underway At The NEC Birmingham

Almost 5,000 dogs arrived at Crufts on Thursday, many dressed in bibs, snoods and pink sparkly outfits, proving that it is something of a fashion parade. Patterned onesies seem to be the rage this year, with the pedigree pooches wearing them looking bemused.

Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, said they were popular with owners because they "keep them clean". "They tend to wear them on the way in - they don't want the dogs to become filthy," she said. The competition, which runs until Sunday, will see up to 22,000 dogs showing off their glossy coats, perfect appearance and best behaviour. Thursday saw the gundog group, for big, popular family breeds such as labradors, enter the arena. The Best in Show competition takes place on Sunday, the culmination of the dogs' efforts.

Kisko said: "It's very difficult to say what is likely to win or not", adding that current favourites might not even make it through the first stages. On Sunday, an oil painting of last year's supreme champion, a poodle named Afterglow Maverick Sabre (also known as Ricky), will be presented to the chairman of the Kennel Club Arts Foundation. Crufts is being featured on Channel 4 and More4 and is being streamed live on YouTube from the NEC Birmingham.

Crufts 2015