At least nine of Kingston's best-looking and smartest pet pooches are gearing up to parade their skills on television for the annual Crufts competition this week.
Retrievers, king charles spaniels and bull dogs from the borough will show just how well behaved they are at the four-day highly contested event hosted by the Kennel Club from Thursday, March 6.
Retired Kingston Pension Service worker Jean Hellingsworth, 68, of Elmbridge Avenue, Berrylands is entering her bernese mountain dog, Bear – who actually looks like a bear, for the first time.
She said: “He is a working dog – a Swiss farm dog, they took carts of milk up and down mountains. We are going to represent the breed and have a good time.”
Three-year-old Bear who has accompanied Santa Claus in his grotto in Ewell and takes part in obedience classes every week, will be joining brother Tolly and their mum Ruby who is a Crufts veteran.
New Malden residents Karen Johnson and her partner Declan McArdle will be showing off bulldog Esther and their two bullmastiffs Gabby and Boris who are all show dog regulars.
Miss Johnson, of Phyllis Avenue, said: “Boris loves the camera. He did a bit of training for a film role a while ago, so although he didn’t get the part – he is a bit of a show-off.
“They are all quite easy to get ready – just a bath and a brush but we have got to keep their exercise routines up so they are fit.”
But the mother-of-two said she had a trick up her sleeve to keep the canines in line during the show.
She said: “They love cake so I bake cakes for them as treats but the cake is made of liver and egg. Oh they go wild for it, and frankfurter sausages.”
Although the couple will be carrying a box of doggy delights for their contenders, they will also be carrying some home comforts such as their favourite blankets.
But black cab driver Mike Hornsby, 47, who lives in Chessington who has entered his one-and-a-half-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Jessie, said he did not need any bribes.
Mr Hornsby said: “Jessie has a lovely temperament. All she wants to do is play all the time and she loves other dogs.
“She is only a baby – we qualified when she was just six months old. Crufts is a big show but she is a lovely looking girl.”
Jessie who was named after the pop singer Jessie J will be listening to her music on the ride up to Birmingham NEC for good luck.
- What's On: 10 reasons to go out this week in south London
- Funding boost will help KCIL map history of disability in Kingston
- Nature Notes: Japanese knotweed
- GreanTea's Kingston and Esher members praised for Edinburgh Fringe success
- Kingston named as London's second-happiest borough