About a hundred hopeful hounds gathered in Shoreditch on Monday for the second Old Spitalfields Market Annual Paw Pageant in Shoreditch.
Competing in eight categories, from ‘Dressed up to the K-Nine’ to ‘The Paw-Ditch Look’, eager contestants had a tough match but won many hearts amongst the judges and audience.
Ellie Barnet, the market’s event manager, said: “It has been a really good day, we have had a great turn out and some very beautiful dogs competing. Everyone has really enjoyed themselves”.
Registration fees and raffle tickets went towards Battersea Dog and Cats home, an animal re-homing charity.
After a fashion show and agility training demonstration by the Darling Dog Company, a dog training specialist, the pooches were put to the test.
While most categories quickly filled their limit of nine competitors, the ‘Fugliest Dog’ competition proved an exception.
Barnet said: “Everybody loves their dogs so much nobody wants to say it is ‘funny-ugly’. But we did have one contestant, and she won both first, second and third price.”
The competition was sponsored by doggy fashion brand Love My Dog, which contributed products to the prize pool.
Bidou, a four-month-old French bulldog, seemed to enjoy the spotlight after scoring two victories. After a third prize in the ‘Shoreditch Show Off’ category, he wooed the judges and won first prize in the prestigious ‘Best in Ditch’.
His owner, Myriam Balerio, originally from Buenos Aires but living in London, said: “I am a little bit tired, it has been a long day. But I am very, very happy. I thought it was a good opportunity for Bidou to meet other dogs, it is his first time competing but he seems to have a lot of potential.”
“We are going to celebrate at home with a nice dinner, and Bidou will get a lot of treats for sure!”
Bidou chose to celebrate with a well-deserved rest on the prize box, containing a dog blanket and treats.
For two and a half-year old Pixie, meanwhile, it was the first time in a competition. But the Jack Russell from Kent did not show any nerves. Her owner, Ashley, said: “She really loved it, she couldn’t wait to get out there.”
With the pair decked out in matching scarves, Pixie scored second prize in the ‘Paw-Ditch look’ category but missed out ‘Best Bitch in The Ditch’, the last category of the day.
Instead, that prize culminated in a stand-off between Betty, a bulldog, and Flora, an American Akita breed. After a second round of show-off, Flora was announced the winner.
Her owner, dog trainer Robert Stuhldreer. was pleased with the victory. He said: “Flora is a very laid-back puppy. She’s training to be a therapy dog, so this is great training for her to learn to socialise.”
For Flora it was not the first time in a competition – she has won four show championships before.
But while her owner was to celebrate with a glass of wine at home, Flora would have to wait for her turn. “It is not good for dogs until an hour after exercise”, Robert explained. “But she will definitely get some treats later on”.