HUNDREDS of dogs negotiated see-saws, hurdles and high jumps as part of an agility competition.

Animal lovers from across the country descended on Preston Park, Stockton, on Saturday for the south Durham dog agility contest.

In total, 500 dogs battled it out against each other and the clock. There were 14 classes, including experts and novices. The agility competition is different to traditional dog shows because it tests an animal's working ability rather than its appearance. Mongrels can also take part.

Robert Wray, chairman of the South Durham dog agility club, said: "With agility, it doesn't matter what the breed is.

"It is mainly border collies which take part, but we are trying to encourage more dogs to come along. It works on the same premise as showjumping and the dogs try to go round the obstacle course as quickly as possible."

Mr Wray said it had been an excellent day and there had been a very good turn out because it was one of the last events in the canine calendar.

The agility club meets at the National Canine Defence League, Sadberge, near Darlington, on Saturdays and Sundays, between 2pm and 3pm during the winter, and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, between 6pm and 7pm in the summer.

Interested owners and their dogs are invited to attend. For details, call (01642) 650607.