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Last Updated: Sunday March 08 2009 13:02 GMT

In pics: Pampered pets turn out for Crufts

Lewis, a 12-week-old gordon setter at Crufts

Thousands of dogs are putting their best paws forward in Birmingham for the world-famous Crufts dog show.

Silhouette of someone showing their dog at Crufts

The show has hit the headlines in recent months, after a documentary showed how some pedigree pooches suffer health problems because of the way they are bred.

A Pekingese dog at Crufts

The RSPCA animal charity pulled out of this year's Crufts saying it wanted the show to focus more on a dog's health and character and less on its looks.

A bulldog at Crufts

The Kennel Club, which organises the show, says most dogs are healthy but it is now reviewing the standards for the 209 pedigree breeds in the UK.

An afghan on show at Crufts

Despite all the controversy, more than 150,000 dog lovers are expected to go to Crufts to see their favourite breeds parade around the ring.

Ripley the collie sits surrounded by his good luck cards

There are more than 187 breeds on show and the competition is tough, but it looks like Ripley the collie has got plenty of good luck wishes.

A dog being groomed at Crufts

Owners spend hours pampering their pooches so they look their best in the show ring.

A Maltese dog in a pram

But pushing them around in a pram...? Well, at least it will stop them getting mucky paws, and this Maltese dog doesn't seem to mind.

A dog and its owner take time out between classes

All that primping and preening can be pretty tiring, so it's a good job there's time for a nap between classes.

A King Charles spaniel and dalmatian say hello

This dalmatian and King Charles spaniel seem more interested in checking out the competition.

A Yorkshire Terrier being groomed at Crufts

When they're on show, the dogs are judged on how good they look and how well they perform in the ring.

An afghan at Crufts

There are loads of different events, including agility and doggy dancing, but at the end of the weekend only one top dog can be crowned best in show.