Daily Express


- Edited by Stuart Winter

THE world’s greatest dog show is marking 125 years with all its traditiona­l pomp and pageantry, with lots of new attraction­s celebratin­g man’s best friend. For four days this week ( March 10 to March 13), the NEC Birmingham will open its doors to more than 150,000 pet lovers eager to see the most blue- blooded pedigrees on the “dog walk”, as well as many other incredible animals and their remarkable owners. The prestigiou­s group competitio­ns will see 22,000 dogs from 200 breeds taking part, climaxing with the coronation of the Best in Show. But there will also many other pets – from more humble bloodlines – on show, with backstorie­s that will bring a smile to the face and a tear to the eye.

Lining up in the show ring will be the nation’s favourite crossbreed­s who will compete for the ever popular Scruffts title, as well as the heroic winner of this year’s Eukanuba Friends For Life competitio­n.

Anyone wanting proof that dogs are smart, athletic and agile only need to watch the enthrallin­g agility and obedience displays. One of the many highlights at this year’s show will see contestant­s from two of the nation’s favourite rescue centres going head- to- head in the ever- popular Tunnel of Temptation.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is taking on Manchester Dogs Home – recently reopened after the devastatin­g fi re there in 2014, which killed 60 animals – in a tense contest where competitor­s have to navigate a fun course while being tempted with favourite treats along the way.

Of course, all eyes will be on the main arena on the fi nal day – Sunday, March 13 – when the champion dog will be crowned Best in Show.

Do not worry if you cannot make all four days at the NEC as Channel 4 and More4 will be broadcasti­ng and you can also catch up via the Crufts YouTube livestream.

Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said: “We feel honoured to welcome dogs from such a wide variety of breeds, representi­ng all corners of the globe.

“The fact that people travel far and wide to attend this prestigiou­s event is testament to the place it continues to hold in people’s hearts – and none more so than this year, the 125th anniversar­y.

“We look forward to welcoming the dogs and dog lovers who make Crufts such a wonderful event, whether it is those who have been loyally returning year after year or those who are experienci­ng the show for the fi rst time.” INFORMATIO­N: Weekday tickets cost £ 16.20 for adults in advance and £ 18 on the door. Weekend tickets cost £ 18.36 in advance and £ 20 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £ 17.50. Concession­s are available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee. Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 444 9944,

or online at crufts. org. uk

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