You’d have to be barking mad not to adore some of the canines which will be competing at Bakewell Show this year. But owning prize-winning pups can be something of a dog’s life.
So says Roger Taylor. And he should certainly know.
The 72-year-old retired accountant has been in charge of the dog show for 15 years; and before that he ran his own kennels in his spare time.
“What are the secrets to a prize-winning dog?” he ponders. “Very simple: a lot of hard work.
“I used to specialise in labradors so if we take those as an example, in the three or so weeks leading up to shows I would walk them five miles a day, bathe them completely once a week, groom them daily.
“But the rest of the year you still have to be there for them 24 hours a day. It’s a hobby but it’s a full-time job too. In a way dogs are more demanding than children because at least a child will grow up to be more self-reliant. You always have to be there for a dog.”
Not easy perhaps. But he reckons the rewards will be self-evident at Bakewell Show.
Then, some 2,000 dogs will compete in almost 450 classes for more than 75 breeds with a total prize money of north of £600. More than 40 judges will on hand to give their verdict.
This year, for the first time, there will be a Companions Show for non-pedigree dogs which can be entered on the day.
“Classes for that will be more fun,” says Roger, of Kirkby in Ashfield. “There might be one for the waggiest tail, for example.”
The new feature will mix with the old - dogs have been part of Bakewell Show since 1876.
“Bakewell is great for dog-lovers and for those competing,” says Roger.
“You come here, compete and then enjoy the other attractions with your friends and family. It’s a lovely couple of days.”