FORGET Crufts - these dogs were top of the Scruffs.

The gathering of furry friends and their owners as part of the Scruffs Dog Show took place in St Ann's Well Gardens in Hove yesterday afternoon.

A spin-off of Crufts, the world's largest dog show, Scruffs aims to celebrate canines of all shapes and sizes, regardless of ability.

There were seven categories - prettiest bitch, most handsome dog, junior party trick, sausage in a bucket race, most waggy tail, best veteran over seven and the dog the judges would most like to take home.

The winners each got a rosette for their efforts and went through to a Best In Show final.

Tracy Patterson, 46, of Brunswick Place, Hove, competed with her dog Molly.

She said: "My mum had her out the day before and the organiser asked us to bring her along."

Molly was badly injured in an accident with a car earlier this year and was left with her back legs paralysed.

Her vet wanted to put her to sleep after the accident and said it was the worst spinal breakage she had seen.

But Miss Paterson decided to pay for an operation to save her.

She said: "There was a 50/50 chance that Molly could get a disease but she's the happiest little thing going."

Despite Molly needing a set of wheels to get about, Miss Paterson said: "She's amazingly happy. It's only been four months."

Molly won the Prettiest Bitch category and much admiration.

Miss Paterson said: "She had her prettiest dress on and just looked cute.

"She loves the company of other dogs and the bigger dogs are better."

Aside from the competing hounds, there was a dog trainer busily training other animals in various manoeuvres.

Nicci McKenzie, 37, also of Brunswick Place, Hove, was walking her dogs in the park when she saw a poster and thought she would come along.

Her two dogs, Pug and Betty, did not compete but soaked up the atmosphere.

She said: "The oldest dog is Pug, who is 14 years old and deaf and blind so he couldn't compete.

"The park is full of dog-lovers generally, which is a testament to the area and I think that was the draw to today's event."

The event coincided with a rural day at the park, where families got together for arts and crafts, children's activities, tea and cakes and live music.