Cuddly giant ‘Boris Bear’ leads pack of Crufts contenders

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The Pyrenean mountain dog yesterday struck a cute pose by cuddling owner Susan Reilly as he arrived at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

The charming canine looked like an oversized teddy bear in his red neckerchief, embroidered with the nickname “Boris Bear”. Gifted and groomed dogs showed up in droves, many in pairs – with one owner bringing two black miniature poodles in matching leopard-print pyjamas to the Kennel Club event.

A couple of boxers were snapped eyeing up the competition as they waited backstage for their moment in the spotlight.

Elsewhere, there were nicely coiffured hounds of all shapes and sizes, from great Danes to old English sheepdogs, with some modelling onesies and booties as they prepared to compete in agility, obedience and breed categories.

The show, which is named after its founder Charles Cruft, will feature more than 20,000 talented pets before it concludes with Best In Show on Sunday.

During the four-day spectacular, 1,843 dogs from overseas will strut their stuff.

However, Russian dog owners and their animals have been banned from attending due to the recent invasion of Ukraine.

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A donation of £50,000 is being made to help breeders, owners and their dogs in Ukraine, Poland and Hungary.

Coverage of Crufts, which is making a comeback after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, will also be record-breaking. Some 16 hours of coverage will be shown on Channel 4 and More4.

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