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And they’re wooooff !

Crufts. the world largest annual dog show and biggest day in the canine calendar, begins today in Birmingham.

No doubt this year’s poochy participants are already dolled up in their best collars and awaiting validation in their kennel dressing rooms that laying off the doggy biscuits for so long has been worth it all.

While the conditions for best in show will always be a bone of contention to some, looking back at some of the competition’s most outstanding entrants across the years makes it clear that at this stage, no matter the breed, all creatures great and small will be contenders.

And although the categories are sure to be hotly contested, the healthy rivalry never spills over into being dog eat dog.

Not even if a St. Bernard were to come up against a Chihuahua.

On a side note, it seems a shame that there is unlikely to be a special achievement award for BENTON! in the offing.

So, best paw forward and all that.

Here are a range of the most magnificent mutts to have bow-wowed the judges.

Coco the Norfolk terrier, best in show in 2005? I should c. (Photo: Reuters)

Take a Pekinese at this winner: Danny won at the Centennial Crufts event in 2003 (Photo: PA)

Close your mouth, you look daft: Topscore Contradiction bares his canines in 2002 (Photo: Reuters)

(Irish) Settering in on the Best in Show winner's podium: Caspians Intrepid poses in 1999 (Photo: Reuters)

Not skirting around the issue: Stage matches Justin the Yorkshire Terrier's lead and bow in 1997 (Photo: Reuters)

Husky Rolli made the finalists in 2007: Please bark a little bit more clearly (Photo: Rex Features)

Hound dog hunts down the win: Sid the Basengi dog claims Best in Show in 2001 (Photo: Reuters)

Danaway Debonair ran away with 1993's top prize (Photo: Williams Dick)

Whipped them in every round: Deedee the whippet was triumphant in 2004 (Photo: Reuters)

Tickled with the win: Garfield the Clumber Spaniel in 1991 (Photo: Mirrorpix)

Charmin' the judges: Sealyham Terrier Charmin takes a closer look at the trophy in 2009 (Photo: Reuters)

Thanking his doggone luck: 2006's winner Chance the Australian Shepherd from California (Photo: Reuters)

Fringe benefits of emerging victorious in the Pastoral Group: Daisy the Bearded Collie heads into the 2007 finals (Photo: Rex Features)

Furry good credentials: Rodney tops 2006's Crufts Finalist Utility Group for the Miniature Poodle breed (Photo: Rex Features)

Living the life: Riley from Dublin tastes sweet victory as 2007's pre-eminent gundog (Photo: Rex Features)

Chilly Willy: Tibetan Terrier Willy looks cool after winning in 2007 (Photo: PA)

Winner’s parade: Doggy dignitaries hail 2007’s Terrier Group winner (Photo: Getty)

Dirty look Harry: Beagle doesn’t look best pleased, despite 2005 win in Hounds Section (Photo: Rex Features)

Smarter than your average Hungarian Vizsla: Yogi is crowned Best in Show in 2010 (Photo: Rex Features)

Don't be blue, you've won! Blue terrier Torums Scarf Michael gets some behind the ear in 2000 (Photo: Rex Features)

Music(al) to owner's ears: Starlite Express looks content, but doesn't make a song and dance of it, in 1988 (Photo: Rex Features)

Gundogging for the win: Flatcoated Retriever Almanza Far & Flyg claims Best in Group in 2007 (Photo: Getty)

The victory party was a Wild Haired one, no doubt: 1975's triumphant Terrier (Photo: Mirrorpix)

Nuzzling me, nuzzling you: Giant Schnauzer Phillipe gets some schnoz action in 2008 (Photo: Getty)

Tail-wagger: Kim the bull terrier wins in 1972 (Photo: Mirrorpix)

2007's winner? You-bet! Willy the Tibetan Terrier shows he can, he will-y and he did (Photo: Getty)

Wolfing down the applause: Irish Wolfhound Sulhamstead Merman bags the trophy in 1960 (Photo: PA)

Why the long face? Your blood would have to be running cold if you did't want to rub this droopy 2007 Hound category winner's cheeks (Photo: Getty)

Totally barking: Hopefully no identity crisis for this pooch (Photo: Reuters)

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