Good evening from day 3 of Crufts 2012. With more tricks and treats than a class full of seven year olds at Halloween, it's been quite a day at the world's greatest dog show.
Today saw the first ever Crufts Factor final take place in the Main Arena at the NEC in Birmingham, with four talented dogs hoping to get their paws on the show's latest trophy. Owners of dogs with an unusual talent have been uploading vidoes of their clever canines to YouTube, with the public's favourite four being invited to compete in front of a huge audience in the Arena.
The competition opened with a performance from Pippa Langhorne and her singing dog Buddy who shot to fame on Britain's Got Talent last year. Pippa then took one of the judging chairs alongside TV vet Marc Abraham and BBC London radio presenters Jo Good and Anna Webb to watch the finalists in action. All four rose to the occasion on the big stage, but the clear winner was Elee the Shiba Inu,owned by Delphine Lamalle, who wowed the crowd with a string of clever tricks including playing the bongos!
There was of course some far more traditional Crufts competition in the Arena this evening as the Working and Pastoral groups were judged. First up were the Working Dogs which were judged by Jeff Luscott. He chose a very appropriately named Newfoundland, the multi-international Champion King of Helluland Feel the Win, owned by Mr & Mrs Krockovci from Slovakia. The list of champion titles to the dog's name are almost as long as the journey his delighted owners made to be here at the show and they might even get home again before I've typed them all out.
Following on were another set of dogs not shy of a day's graft in the form of the Pastoral group. Albert Wight had the job of choosing the fifth dog to compete in tomorrow's prestigious Best in Show final and he selected another long distance traveller in the form of the Old English Sheepdog, Ch Bottomshaker My Secret owned by Mr J Koroknai from Hungary.
Among the day's other activities in the Arena were the Flyball Team Finals, which were won by Broxburn, sparking a celebration containing the most tartan seen round these parts since the Bay City Rollers last hit town. Earlier on, the judge of the International Heelwork to Music Freestyle competition took a fancy to the French competitor Thierry Thomas and his Border Collie following their performance full of Gallic gladitorial grandeur.
Also appearing in the Arena this afternoon was former EastEnders stalwart, Pam St Clement who took a (Pat) butchers at the special skills of the dog chosen as the Pets As Therapy PAT Dog of the Year. She also helped Hearing Dogs for Deaf People celebrate their 30th anniversary in fine style, further demonstrating her great support for assistance dogs and the invaluable work they do.
With just one day chock full of special events to come tomorrow, including the International Junior Handling final, the Obedience World Cup and of course the wonderful Best in Show competition, I'll leave you with one of my own personal highlights from today. Sat in the press office with the live web stream at www.youtube.co.uk/crufts on in the background, my ears pricked up when I heard the unmistakable opening of one of my favourite songs. Kudos to International Freestyle runner up Heather Smith and her Bearded Collie, representing Scotland, performing to Sparks' 'This Town Aint Big Enough For The Both Of Us'.
Luckily for you though, this show is certainly big enough for all of us, so why not come to the NEC tomorrow for what is sure to be a memorable last day of Crufts 2012.