There was something for big dogs and little dogs, for old dogs and new dogs at the annual Rotorua Kennel Association Championship Shows.

More than 400 dogs came from across the country groomed to impress and ready to take the ring.

Rob Ellis and his 3-year-old English sheepdog Lover are regulars on the New Zealand dog show scene with Lover racking up 28 wins in the past 18 months.

Lover is the number one all breed dog in New Zealand.

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Ellis has been working with English sheepdogs for 45 years and imported Lover from an Italian breeder.

"He's in the working group, so that's with things like German shepherds, border collies, corgis.

"These guys here [the English sheepdogs] were used for driving cattle or sheep to market and then protecting them overnight."

Tata, a French bulldog, prepares for the competition. Photo / Stephen Parker
Tata, a French bulldog, prepares for the competition. Photo / Stephen Parker

At home in Taupō, Lover is a much-loved family pet and Ellis said he was good for warm cuddles in the winter.

"He's a sweetheart."

Ellis and his wife are now retired so travelling the country with Lover is a big part of their life.

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"It's been great here today," he said.

Rotorua Kennel Association president Ros Mihaka said it had been a great start to the weekend.

"It's been brilliant, the weather has been good, but we've had the wind Rotorua is notorious for.

"The grounds are fantastic for it, the council pull out all the stops to make it possible and the judges come up from the South Island."

Bronwyn Sanders celebrates her Pomeranian Halo Moon at Thyme winning best NZ breed, best bitch and reserve best breed at Rotorua. Photo / Stephen Parker
Bronwyn Sanders celebrates her Pomeranian Halo Moon at Thyme winning best NZ breed, best bitch and reserve best breed at Rotorua. Photo / Stephen Parker

Five-month-old Australian kelpie Phantom made her show debut, taking out the puppy stakes.

Her breeder Trever Corin, from Morrinsville, said he normally came to the Rotorua show.

"It's a little bit windy here but at least we've had the sunshine.

"There were two heats for the puppy stakes and Phantom beat out the other 26 dogs."

Phantom got a "lovely ribbon" for her efforts in the ring with Corin's daughter.

Four-month-old Boston terriers Trump and Zoomie were also making their show debut with owners Shannon Aldous and Amanda Calman.

"I was born into the show dog world, my mum nearly gave birth to me at a show," Calman said.

"It's very social and you get to see places all over the country."

She said at this age Trump and Zoomie were pretty much running wild so it was just about making it fun and having a go.

The dog show will be on again tomorrow at Rotorua Stadium from 10am to 2pm with gold coin entry for those wanting to go along.