Crufts 2017: Six talking points

Katie McCloughlin lies with Topsy, her English Setter Image copyright Reuters

Crufts draws to a close later, with the famous dog show culminating in the coveted Best in Show award.

But aside from the usual displays of canine agility and obedience, what have been the stand-out moments of the Birmingham-based event?

1. When it comes to accessories, less is more

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption New rules against "adornments" meant shih tzus were seen wearing plain elastic bands

Whether you think they're cute or cringeworthy, dogs with hair bows risked being disqualified this year.

Pat Maul, a shih tzu judge, said any dogs with "bows" or "adornments" would be refused from the ring.

Her recommendation that owners use a "plain elastic band holding the topknot only please" was prompted by new rules set out by the Kennel Club, which runs Crufts.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some owners couldn't resist a bow

2. This year's fashion must-have: Dog onesies

It may be March but cosy "onesies" were spotted on many a fashion-forward dog at the four-day event, including this tiger print number.

Other owners stuck to the more-traditional dog jacket.

Image copyright PA
Image copyright PA

3. Youngest ever Crufts handler?

Image copyright Reuters

Jessica Allen, four, was the youngest dog handler at Crufts 2017 when she competed with her pet terrier Cariad - who is a year older than her.

The Kennel Club said it thought Jessica, from Stafford, was the youngest person ever to have taken part in the 125-year-old competition.

"As soon as she could walk she was into dogs," said her mother, Felicity Freer.

"It brought a tear to my eye".

4. A 'guardian angel' autism dog makes the final

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Media captionA dog has reached the finals of Crufts for helping transform an autistic boys' life

Caddie, a Labrador trained to give autistic people assistance, reached the finals of Crufts.

He helps a 13-year-old boy to carry out everyday tasks like brushing his teeth and going to the shops.

Caddie and his owner, Joel, are finalists in the Crufts Friends for Life hero dog competition.

5. Breeding remains a talking point

Image copyright Lin Fidgin Fardogart Foto

Crufts comes with its fair share of controversy, with some people claiming it does not place enough emphasis on the welfare of dogs.

Campaign group Peta said the show was "all about celebrating dogs who have been bred by humans to have unnatural, exaggerated features".

Last year, a German Shepherd with a sloped back appeared to struggle walking was awarded a Best in Breed prize.

The Kennel Club has said dogs can only be exhibited if they can "stand freely and unsupported" and show "structural balance". It has also said that it takes any cases of animal cruelty seriously.

6. Public displays of affection

Crufts isn't all serious competition. As these pictures of pedigree pets and their owners show, there is still plenty of time for some canine cuddles.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Reuters

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