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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 14:41 GMT
In pictures: Crufts opens at NEC

Two Dalmatians arrive at the Crufts dog show

Thousands of dog lovers and their pets are attending Crufts, the biggest dog show in the world.

Gromit

The famous cartoon character Gromit helped launch Crufts 2008, which is taking place at the Birmingham NEC.

Tommy Tucker, a bulldog

A bulldog named Tommy Tucker is among about 23,000 dogs expected at the four-day event.

Papillion dog

Pampered, moi? A Papillion dog named Noah arrives at the show groomed and refreshed.

bulldogs

Two bulldogs arrive for the show, which was founded by a 'dog cake' maker called Charles Cruft in 1891.

A standard poodle

Dogs have to fulfil qualification rules before they can appear at the show before the judges.

Shih Tzu dog

Has anyone got a hairbrush? The Kennel Club's show is in its 18th year at Birmingham's NEC and this year will see 1,165 dogs from overseas.

Dog at Crufts. Picture courtesy of Kennel Club library

Dogs in the utility and toy groups will be shown at the first day of Crufts.

People walk dogs round. Picture from the Kennel Club

Crufts has a wide range of judging categories, including obedience and heelwork to music.

Standard poodles

All eyes will be on the Best in Show prize, which will be chosen from the winners of seven categories on Sunday.



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