NORTH-EAST and Yorkshire dog lovers proved their pooches are the best after scooping top prizes at Crufts 2018.

Thousands of canine lovers descended on the West Midlands for the 127th edition of the world’s largest dog show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) last week.

An estimated 22,000 pooches visited the NEC during the four-day event, with a record 3,623 four-legged-friends from 49 countries vying for the chance to win the coveted Best in Show.

Visitors also learnt about 200 different breeds at the Discover Dogs zone, crossbreeds competed for the Scruffs crown and the Friends for Life event reminded people about the inspiring and unique stories that show dogs at their best.

And among the Best of Breed awards were dog owners from Tow Law, in County Durham, and Pickering, in North Yorkshire.

Sue Smith, of Tow Law, scooped the award with her seven-year-old Samoyed, Dan the Man.

Miss Smith, who won Reserve Best in Show with Dan the Man in 2014, said: “I still get dead nervous, it’s like a new thing every time."

She added: “It’s wonderful. I never take anything for granted.

“I can’t put into words what I think about it."

Dan the Man, whose official name is Champion Nikara Diamond Dancer JW, impressed judges on Thursday, with joint-owner and handler Val Freer.

Speaking about the experience Miss Smith, who has had Dan the Mna since he was a puppy and bred dogs for more than 40 years, said: "We entered as the veteran's class so it was really nice to win it."

She added: "It's brilliant to enter and does not really matter where you are from."

Meanwhile, Eion Flint of Pickering, also claimed the title with Pyrenean Sheepdog long-haired Blue.

Talking about Blue, who won Best of Breed in 2015, Mr Flint said: “It’s fantastic, she is a diva. This is her stage.

"Winning Crufts is a dream, but this is the icing on the cake.

“She is quite aloof, she lives with a pack of eight and it’s always on her terms.

“She’s maximum energy in the smallest package.”