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Dogs have their day at Darlington show
PRANCING poodles, dashing dachshunds and tiny terriers have all done their bit to add to the buoyant atmosphere of this year’s Darlington Dog Show.
The three-day event, which kicked off yesterday at Newby Hall, near Ripon , saw thousands of dog-lovers show off their animals in a bid to win a place at the Crufts Grand Final in March.
Today is the turn of the working and pastoral groups and tomorrow will see gundogs and the toy groups, plus the unveiling of the overall Best in Show.
Sarah Allsopp, chairwoman of the Darlington Dog Show Society, which organises the show, said yesterday’s opening day, which saw hounds, terriers and utility dogs take to the ring, had been excellent.
“Our exhibitors have turned out in force from all over the country, as they usually do, and we have got 29 extra dogs compared to last year, bringing the total up to 7,181,” she said.
“In that sense, we are bucking the trend a little bit because generally championship shows have had reduced numbers this year.”
The annual show ran at Darlington’s South Park for decades, but had to find an alternative venue in 2005 when landscaping work meant it had to leave for a year, and it has been at Newby Hall ever since.
Competitors travel from all over the country to take part and this year has even seen entrants from as far as Belgium.
Kym Drady, a senior lecturer at Sunderland University, made the trip from her Newcastle home town. Her long-haired miniature dachshund, Marble, won her Junior Bitch class and Ms Drady said: “I didn’t expect it, I was well chuffed. I’ve been here before quite a few times and it is always a nice show – friendly and clean.”
Irene Stansfield, from Laneshaw Bridge, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, joined friend Joan Howarth, from Oldham, at the show and watched Miss Howarth’s French bulldog, Gizjo Angel, win the Best in Breed prize.
“It has been a very nice day,” said Mrs Stansfield. “I go to up to 20 shows a year – it’s quite a passion of mine.”
Judge and international poodle specialist Kim Sillito- Beale, who judged at Crufts last year, declared the standard at the Darlington Dog Show “very good” and said the event was going well despite strong winds that threatened to blow the smallest dogs off the tables.
“It can be very hard sometimes because you have to evaluate one dog off against the other and sometimes you have got two dogs that are difficult to choose from,” she said.
“Sometimes people think that if you hand them third then you don’t like their dog.
It isn’t that at all, but you really do just have to place them on the day.”
The show continues throughout the weekend and spectators are welcome.
Admission is free but there is a £10 parking charge.