A POOCH who found a loving home after being given up by his previous owner is ready to take centre stage at the world’s biggest dog show.

Eight-year-old crossbreed Bailey will be joined by Karyn Thomson as they compete in the Inter Regional Rally event at Crufts this week.

The pair will form part of the Scotland team for the contest, which sees four-legged friends navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform.

Karyn, of Third Avenue, Renfrew, said training is going well and she is confident Bailey can bring home the bling.

She told The Gazette: “I don’t mean to sound over-confident but Bailey is pretty good at most things.

“He is my first dog and is a rescue. He has been part of the family for eight years now. It’s proved to be a very steep learning curve.

“He ate the post once, a cheque worth £2,000. However, he is very clever – too clever at times – and has always shown a love for learning.

“I’m very excited but also pretty nervous at the same time. I watch Crufts every year and I’ve had a few friends compete in it.”

The pair started training and competing in Heelwork to Music a few years ago before attending rally obedience classes last year.

They entered their first show in June last year and gained an excellent score in both Level 1 and Level 2.

Karyn added: “I’m so proud that Bailey and I are part of the Scotland team and we hope to make our first time at Crufts a really wonderful experience.”

There are five levels in the contest, with Karyn and Bailey competing in Level 3.

Rally is the newest dog sport to be recognised by the Kennel Club, which runs Crufts.

The competition as a whole will welcome around 27,000 dogs from across the globe to the NEC in Birmingham over four days, from tomorrow until Sunday.

Highlights of the 127th year of the much-loved event will include pedigree dogs competing for the coveted Best in Show prize and the UK’s top crossbreeds vying for the judges’ attention to be named Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year.

Gerald King, Crufts chairman, said: “We are delighted entries to Crufts remain so impressive year on year.

“We feel honoured to welcome dogs from a wider variety of breeds than ever before, representing all corners of the globe.

“The fact that people travel far and wide to enter this prestigious event proves that it really is the world’s greatest dog show.

“We thank everybody who has entered the show and we look forward to welcoming all the dogs and their owners who make Crufts such a wonderful event, whether it is those who have been loyally returning year after year or those who are experiencing the show for the first time.”

Anyone who would like to attend Crufts can buy tickets for £15 in advance or £18 at the door.

Weekend tickets for adults cost £18 in advance and £20 on the door.

Book online at www.crufts.org.uk or call Ticket Factory on 0844 444 9944.