DON’T be fooled by first impressions – in a national competition featuring 4000 beloved pooches, it is the owners who really bite.
This weekend the Hunter is hosting the International Spring Spectacular, one of the largest and most strongly contested dog shows in Australia.
Despite the stereotype that dog shows attract eccentrics, Tom Couchman, president of Dogs NSW, said that it was, above all, a highly competitive sport.
‘‘Sometimes it’s fierce, there’s politics and rivalry. If you didn’t love it, you wouldn’t be here – there’s so much pressure,’’ he said.
Outside the Sydney and Melbourne Royal dog shows, the Hillsborough event is the largest in Australia.
‘‘It’s one of the best,’’ Ron Besoff, president of the Spring Spectacular and champion breeder, said.
Pictures by Darren Pateman and Caitlin McGrath