Britain’s Rarest Breeds Head to Exeter for Devon’s Largest Dog Show

  • One of the largest dog shows in the UK
  • Almost 6,000 dogs will compete over four days
  • Over 200 breeds on show
  • Watch the exciting agility and scurry competitions
  • The opportunity to see rare breeds including the Sussex Spaniel
  • Dogs competing for a spot at the world famous Crufts dog show, to be held next March in Birmingham
  • Many trade stands selling all things ‘doggy’
  • All dogs welcome!

Britain’s rarest breeds will be among the almost 6,000 dogs which will be descending on Westpoint, Clyst St Mary, Exeter from 6th - 9th August for the popular Paignton Championship Dog Show – the largest event of its kind in Devon and among the biggest in the UK.

The show will see more than 200 breeds and their owners from all over the British Isles and beyond compete in a bid to qualify for the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham next March. 

The pedigree dogs taking part will be judged on a number of factors in the ring, including temperament and that they are fit, healthy and happy dogs that are good examples of their breed, as they compete for the ultimate ‘Best in Show’ prize.

The show is one of the largest gatherings of dogs in the UK and will see rare native British and Irish breeds competing, such as the Sussex Spaniel originating from England, the Sealyham Terrier from Wales, the Deerhound from Scotland, and the Kerry Blue Terrier from Ireland. 

These breeds are bred in such small numbers today that they are considered by the Kennel Club to be at risk of disappearing from the UK’s streets and parks.  Alongside these breeds will be some of the more well-known ones such as the Golden Retriever, Whippet, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel and Irish Setter.

In addition to breed judging, the show is holding adult handling and open agility competitions on all four days, ‘have a go’ scurries on the first three days and an open obedience competition on the Tuesday, so visitors can watch a range of events and find out more about the different activities that dogs can get involved in. A companion dog show will also be held on Saturday, between 5.30 - 7.30pm, in aid of the Hounds for Heroes charity.

The show is perfect for families researching the right breed of dog for them, and visitors will be able to meet the dogs themselves as well as talk to experts in each breed about finding a good breeder, what to expect from the breed, and training and care requirements.

Aileen Hodsoll, secretary of the show, said: “Ours is the largest dog show in Devon as well as one of the biggest in the UK and naturally we are very proud of that fact. Being near the sea, the show is very popular with summer holidaymakers and brings thousands of dog lovers to the area each year. We are expecting this year’s show to be bigger and better than ever.

“The show is a huge celebration of man’s best friend and visitors will get to meet lots of wonderful dogs throughout the weekend, find out more about dog showing and the various activities they can get involved in with their own dog, and browse the many dog products on the trade stands.

“Anyone thinking about getting a pedigree dog can come along and research their favourite breeds, as well as some of the lesser known breeds they may not even have heard of, and take the opportunity to meet the dogs themselves, which is definitely a favourite with families.”

Competition classes are held across the seven pedigree dog groups. Saturday 6thAugust will see the Gundog and Terrier breeds competing, followed by the Hound breeds on Sunday 7th, the Working and Pastoral breeds on Monday 8th and the Toy and Utility breeds on Tuesday 9th. Tuesday also sees the climax of the competition – Best in Show – followed by Best Puppy in Show. 

The show is one of 37 Group and General Championship Dog Shows licensed by the Kennel Club throughout the year, which enable dogs to qualify for next year’s Crufts.

Entry to the show is free, as is car parking. The public can bring their own dogs with them to the show, for a fee of £6, but will have to sign a declaration that their dog is free from any illness and ensure their dog is under control at all times. Spectator dogs may not compete at the show and must be at least four months of age.

To find out more, visit the Paignton Championship Dog Show website.

Read more information on dog showing, and any other activity dog owners can get involved in with their dogs.