This weekend sees an estimated 22,000 dogs visit Birmingham’s NEC Arena for the world-famous Crufts show.

Known for its pedigree breeds, it attracts only the best of the best.

But the Kennel Club is promoting another kind of dog altogether – rescue dogs.

“They are so laid back and loving,” said Lisa Ruston, 39, from Wednesbury.

“There’s just something about them. We went to a charity fun day that they did and filled in a form to say we were interested.

“Within two months they said they had the dog for us. The rest is history!”

Lisa adopted Mikey, an eight-year-old Ridgeback, from Ridgeback Rescue, who ran a stand at Crufts 2018 on Friday.

The dogs, originally bred in South Africa, are known for their mischievous, strong-willed temperament – but Mikey breaks that mould.

“He is so laid back and chilled out,” said Lisa.

“A lot of Ridgebacks do need rehoming, so adopting a rescue dog is a good way to introduce them to the breed.

“Ridgeback Rescue are great because they assess the dog’s suitability.

“Mikey’s my baby, my little shadow. And he’s my daughter Lacie’s best friend!”

An estimated 22,000 pooches will visit the NEC during the four-day event, with a record 3,623 four-legged-friends from 49 countries vying for the chance to win the coveted Best in Show.

Visitors can learn about 200 different breeds at the Discover Dogs zone, while crossbreeds will compete for the Scruffts crown and the Friends for Life event reminds people about the truly inspiring and unique stories that show dogs at their absolute best.

Paul Simms, 52, from Middlesbrough, is the welfare officer and behaviourist at STECS – Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme.

His role entails looking into rescued dogs’ aggression and taming it out to rehabilitate them in a new home.

A proud owner of four rescue dogs, he headed up the STECS stand on Friday, promoting the breed to the countless animal lovers passing by.

“We assess the dogs to make sure the dogs are absolutely okay,” he said.

“We take them to schools and make sure they are alright with children and so on.

“We home the dog to the home, rather than the other way round, and we have a 100 percent success rate.

“I love the breed with a passion – I like their stubborn attitude.

“Someone said to me once that you cannot train a Scottish Terrier – but cannot even tell you how many I have trained!”