OVER 200 canine breeds will go into battle in a three-day event in a bid to win a place at the world’s biggest dog show.

The Darlington Championship Dog Show welcomes more than 7,000 dogs from the UK and beyond to compete for a place at Crufts, held in March at the NEC in Birmingham.

The show has been held at Ripon Racecourse since 2013, and sees rare breeds from the UK such as the Lancashire heeler, English toy terrier and the otterhound enter the gates.

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Alongside them will be some of the more well-known breeds such as the boxer, labrador retriever, Staffordshire bull terrier, border collie and whippet.

For years the show was held in parks throughout Darlington, but in 2005 it was moved to the grounds of Newby Hall, near Ripon, due to renovation work in Darlington’s South Park before being moved to the racecourse.

All dogs are judged on factors such as health, fitness, temperament and how happy they appear.

Robert Harrison, show manager, said: “We are expecting over 20,000 people over the three days which matches previous years.

“The Best in Show competition on Sunday night is always the spectacle so that is when we expect the biggest crowds.”

David Guy, secretary, said: “The marquee is slightly larger this year and we want to encourage more spectator dogs to come along.”

This year the fee for spectator dogs has been reduced to £5.

The Puppy Stakes Classes will count as a qualifying round of the nationwide World Pup of the Year 2017 competition.

The winner will be invited to compete in the Pup of the Year final held at Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire in October.

The show is awaiting a development in 2019 when it will become one of ten shows across the country to be given ‘all breed’ status which means each breed of dog can be given a challenge certificate.

In order for a canine to be given Champion dog status, it needs three challenge certificates from three shows on different occasions.

Mr Guy added: “When we are given this status we are expecting a larger number of entries. It will be a massive boost for the show.”

The Darlington Championship Dog Show runs from September 15-17 and judging begins at 9am on the Friday morning.

Gates open to the public from 7.30am each day and admission to the show ground is free.

Car parking costs £4 prepaid or £5 on the day for exhibitors. Spectators are charged £10 per car.