Top dog

Tyne Tees Television cameras go behind the scenes at the region’s biggest dog show. The competition is fierce and the desire to win immense!

We follow five dogs and their owners as they groom themselves for the annual Darlington Championship Dog Show.

Gary Hooker, from Wynyard, is an internationally renowned hairdresser, but he can also boast at being the most successful breeder of Great Danes in the country, with 20 champion dogs. Going to shows is his passion in life. Every weekend he travels with his dogs to different parts of the UK in search of more rosettes. The Darlington show is seen as the Crufts of the north, so winning there is vital to Gary. Will this be his year?

A woman who can honestly say that dogs are her entire life is Glenys Brekkerud. Five days a week Glenys runs a grooming parlour in Whitley Bay, then on Saturday and Sunday she drives her Standard Poodles to any show she can. At Darlington this year she’s planning on taking a risk and only showing her young puppy, Jordan. Glenys has high hopes for the young dog, but will he do justice to his owner’s hours of grooming and practice.

From her home in North Yorkshire, Marilyn Holgate also spends all of her spare time grooming and training her Bison Frises. She’s shown many champion dogs and has had best of breed at Crufts. Marilyn has never left a show without a rosette. Can she maintain that record at Darlington?

Suzanne Whittingham from Gateshead currently has the top Spinnone in the country. To her, travelling around the country to dog shows is her social life and often turns into a family reunion. Many of Suzanne’s friends own dogs that she has bred, so whoever wins in the ring she’s always delighted.

You’ve got to start somewhere, and at Darlington there’s a category for junior handlers. Chloe Endean from Durham and her Golden Retriever, Dillon, have decided to enter Darlington. It’s a big show and the pressure will be great for a 10 year-old. Chloe is convinced she can do it, but will her lively pet do as he’s told on the day?

Top Dog is on ITV1 Tyne Tees at 2.30 p.m. from Tuesday 16th – Friday 19th December 2003.

For further information and pictures please contact Margaret Brown on 0191 269 3539.