The annual Crufts dog show turned into something of a catwalk contest as pampered pets arrived in rain coats, their paws clad in winter boots.
By Jenny Johnson
More than 27,000 animals were expected to descend on Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre for the annual show — with many donning the latest in canine wet-weather fashion.
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.
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.
The Kennel Club estimates about 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.
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.
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.”
Among the 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 (€11,450) cache of stolen power tools.
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