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Westonbirt weekend

Pretty pooches, super woofers and happy hounds of all varieties are all invited to bring their owners along to a special weekend of canine celebrations at the Forestry Commission’s world-famous Westonbirt arboretum, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, on Saturday and Sunday the 18th and 19th of February.

Saturday’s line-up includes those heroic hounds from search and rescue (SARDA), a “fly ball” contest, and the Kennel Club’s Good Citizens display. (Is your dog a good citizen? Come along and find out!). Saturday visitors can return on the Sunday with half-price entry for more fun in the arena, including fund-raising competitions for the RSPCA and the opening heat of Scruffts 2006, the nation’s favourite cross-breed competition

Scruffts is the Kennel Club’s hugely enjoyable, family-orientated, cross-breed canine competition. Each entrant will have a few minutes in the spotlight to dazzle the judges in the following four classes: Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog 6 months - 7 years; Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch 6 months - 7 years; Child's Best Friend 6 months - 12 years (handled by a young person between 6 and 16 years old); and Golden Oldie Crossbreed 8 years - 12 years. Entry to each class is £1, with all money raised going to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. The winners from each heat will be invited to Discover Dogs in 2006 for the Grand Final at Earls Court 2.

No dog’s day would be complete without a trip to the Exhibitor Marquee, where pooches will be able to pester their owners to buy them a new toy. As well as plenty of pet treats, they’ll find crafts and natural products for humans to enjoy too! And don’t miss out on a walk through the arboretum’s Silk Wood, where the whole family will be able to get involved in a treasure trail with a prize for their pet at the end.

Hosted by the Forestry Commission and supported by the Kennel Club, Dog Days is a celebration of dogs, health, nature and country living, and is expected to attract more than 4000 visitors.

Normal admission charges to the arboretum apply: £5 adults; £4 concessions; £1 children. Dog Days programmes cost £3 and include details of the treasure trail route. Westonbirt Arboretum is three miles south west of Tetbury on the A433 (Tetbury to Bath Road).  It is 10 miles north-east of Junction 18 of the M4 and south-east of junction 13 of the M5. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt or call the arboretum on 01666 880147.