This year is the first year that the RSPCA Dog of the Year show is open to all types of rescue dogs – not just cross breeds. Both pedigree and mongrels will be able to compete for the coveted 2003 rescue title.

The event is being sponsored by Tesco and over 60 heats are being held nationwide in search of the top rescue for 2003. The show is open to rescue dogs from any registered animal charity and finalists will be chosen for their general condition, overall appearance and character.

Entries for all the local heats will be taken on the day and Tesco will provide a selection of prizes and vouchers for the lucky first, second and third placed dogs and their owners.

Winners of the regional heats will then be invited to take part in the final which will be held at the RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre in Chobham, Surrey, on Sunday 7 September 2003.

David Grant of the RSPCA’s Harmsworth Animal Hospital, who will be judging the final, said: “With 22,269 pedigree and crossbreed dogs rehomed from RSPCA rescue centres around the country in 2002, ‘RSPCA Dog of the Year’ is a fantastic opportunity for dogs and their owners to take centre stage and demonstrate that rescues can make excellent pets.”

The successful RSPCA Dog of the Year will win an exclusive Hartz grooming set, as well as a commemorative trophy, rosette and a £100 Tesco voucher. The second placed dog will then receive a grooming set and £50 Tesco voucher, while the third placed dog will also win a grooming set and a voucher for £25.

To find out aboutlocal heats please pick up a leaflet from your local Tesco store or contact the RSPCA enquiries department (tel: 0870 333 5999).