THERE were canine aristocrats as far as the eye could see – carefully-coiffed poodles, stylish spaniels, even a few refined rottweilers.
The curious world of dog shows descended on Tamworth over the long weekend for the time-honoured Tamworth Kennel Club All Breed Championship Show.
Kootingal Oval was transformed into a tent city as dog devotees from across the nation put their primped and preened pooches up for appraisal by a team of keen-eyed judges.
More than 440 dogs competed for a swag of prizes, including best of breeds, best in groups and the ultimate prize, best in show.
Tamworth Kennel Club secretary Karen Neyle said the New England was one of the most active purebred dog regions in the nation, with dozens of local clubs all represented at the show.
“It does get obsessive for some people and it’s like any sport, people are always striving to win and do better,” Ms Neyle said.
“There are retired people who travel the country from dog show to dog show chasing prizes.”
To the outsider, everything about dog shows can seem a little strange – even the names.
The big winner from the weekend was an English springer spaniel lumbered with the name Reibey World Premiere, the winner of two of the three best in shows.
The owners of Saturday’s best in show, a samoyed, call their pooch Dawnsnow Evil Is Back.
Tamworth English pointer breeder Charlie Gutzeit said it was the social side of showing – rather than the lure of sashes – that kept her coming back to the show after 30 years.
“It can be an obsession for some people but I just love the social side of it,” Ms Gutzeit said.
“There is a real canine community out there and we’re interested in the welfare of purebred dogs.
“It does get very competitive though and it’s a way of life for a lot of people.”