Crufts kicks off in Birmingham

Thousands of dogs and their owners have turned out for the first day of the annual Crufts dog show, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Around 28,000 dogs are set to compete in various categories during the four-day show, held at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.

Television presenters Ant and Dec - Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly - briefly stole the limelight from the animals as they filmed a segment for their ITV1 show Push the Button in the main arena.

The "secret challenge" involved members of two competing families testing their dog handling skills in a timed agility exercise.

The competitors each led a dog around an obstacle course which included a number of jumps, a tunnel and a seesaw.

The presenters, who back competing families in the programme, will not find out the results of the challenge until it is aired on Saturday evening.

Cheering his team on from the side of the arena, Ant joked: "I am proper nervous, I am going to start running around (the course) myself."

Dec told the crowd he was impressed with the good behaviour of the dogs he had seen at the show, adding: "My girlfriend has got a dog, she's got a little dachshund. It's a cheeky little thing... very very disobedient."

Crufts, which is sponsored by furniture retailer dfs, will be screened on More4. The BBC pulled out of covering the event in 2009 following a documentary which alleged that dogs on show suffer from genetic diseases following years of inbreeding.