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Feature: The world's biggest dog show prepares for 125th ann

LONDON, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The countdown has started for the world's biggest dog show, Crufts, which has this year attracted a record number of entries from overseas.

Among the more than 22,000 dogs entered in this year's 125th anniversary show, which starts Thursday, are 242 of Queen Elizabeth's favorite pooch, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

The Kennel Club, organizers of Crufts, placed the breed on their 'at danger' list in 2014 because so few were being registered. The breed was considered vulnerable for the first time in its history, with only 274 puppies registered.

In what is an early 90th birthday present for the Queen, there has been a 34-percent upsurge in Corgi pups being born in the last year, removing it from the danger list.

Crufts kicks off at the NEC complex in Birmingham. Ahead of the event, the Kennel Club said another breed in danger of dying out, the Old English Sheepdog, had followed the corgi by being taken off the at-risk register.

But there are still 29 breeds on the vulnerable native breeds list. Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club's secretary, said: "Whilst it is good news for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Old English Sheepdog, we are concerned that the English Setter and Irish Terrier are dropping in numbers and the Bedlington Terrier is now included on the 'at watch' list for the first time. We compile the list to raise awareness of some of our oldest and historically best loved breeds of dog, which are struggling to compete with newer breeds that are more fashionable."

Taking part this year are almost 3,400 dogs from 47 overseas countries, a 14-percent increase over last year. Making their debut at Crufts for the first time this year are dogs from the Philippines, Venezuela and Peru.

Gerald King, Crufts chairman said: "We feel honoured to welcome dogs from such a wide variety of breeds, representing all corners of the globe. The fact that people travel far and wide to enter this prestigious event is testament to the place it continues to hold in people's hearts."

The first Crufts dog show, attracting almost 2,500 entries, was held in London in 1891 and was won by a greyhound.


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