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Crufts 2016: It's puppy love as pampered pooches take to the stage

Entertainment | Published:

It's officially the biggest – and best-known – dog show in the world.

And with good reason as the NEC becomes a hive of hound activity for the next few days, building up to Sunday's Best in Show title.

All the creatures great and small bring the venue alive with the sights and sounds of pooches being perfectly presented for the big event.

Each day focuses on different areas with yesterday being the Toy and Utility breeds time in the spotlight. Pugs and French bulldogs are very much the flavour of the month in terms of dog ownership, with social media often awash with the little mites dressed up as everything from Superman to Star Wars characters. Here, however, the pint-sized pets posed for the judges with perfect poise and on best behaviour. More traditional breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Pekingese swanned around the arena amid less well known breeds.

Pomeranian, Havanese, Bichon Frise or Bolognese anyone?

(That last one sounds like part of the lunch menu, but genuinely exists.)

Poodles are very much 'la chien de jour' with many owners in 2016 and take pride of place in the utility breeds section. There, old favourites like the Akita and Dalmatian were on show alongside Korean Jindos, Tibetan terriers and, the club comic's favourite punchline, the Shih Tzu.

Each day the main arena hosts brilliant displays of obedience, agility and doggy derring do with the West Midlands Police team taking the starring role yesterday. What's interesting to a non-dog-owning 'outsider' is how relaxed and friendly the dogs are.

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All seem happy to be patted and petted up close in the Discover Dogs section where literally hundreds of different breeds sit alongside proud owners, happy to hand out advice on everything from diet to how big the beasts are likely to grow.

A Mastiff, we are casually informed will get through 10lbs of meat a day – as well as dried food. Gulp. No wonder the beautiful specimen was the size of a small car – and just as expensive to keep.

"I don't like to think how much they cost me each week," admitted the owner of three beautiful Dalmatians elsewhere, "But they're worth every penny.'"

As you would expect, there's no shortage of tips and advice for potential owners to devour.

And there's a huge amount of doggy delights to choose from. Kennels costing thousands, palatial leather and suede doggy beds, dog clothes, dog pushchairs and even portraits of your pet.

Amid the raft of attractions, it all adds up to a great day out – with no time to paws for thought (sorry!).

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