A MUSSELBURGH woman and her English springer spaniel are ready to make their debut at the world’s most famous dog show.

Lorraine Murtagh, 38, of the town’s Delta Drive, and dog Inca are part of the Scottish team competing in the rally competition at Crufts.

Rally, the latest dog sport to be recognised by the Kennel Club, involves the dog and handler working as a team to navigate a course featuring 10 to 15 exercises.

Each course is different and there are more than 100 exercises in rally, including stationary tasks, recalls, jumps, retrieves and cone weaves.

Lorraine is entered at level two in the Inter-regional Rally Competition, one of six competitors in the Scottish team at the NEC in Birmingham event next Thursday (March 7).

The Inter-regional Rally Competition at Crufts features seven teams: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and four English regions. Last year, the Scottish team finished third.

Lorraine got involved in rally just six months ago, having enjoyed other dog sports, and focused Inca is also proving a natural with her love for learning new things.

Lorraine, who has five dogs – three springer spaniels and two Border collies – runs her own dog-walking business, Waggy Walks Edinburgh.

She said: “Inca is a five-year-old English springer spaniel whom I rescued at just over a year old. I got her from the Dog Aid Society.

“She is the sweetest, most affectionate dog and, at home, loves nothing more than cuddling on the sofa.

“On walks she loves to run and explore, and is always up for an adventure. Inca also loves to work and will turn her paw to anything I ask of her.

“She is always happy to learn and, although we are both new to rally, we are really enjoying learning new skills together. Inca and I also train and compete regularly in flyball and in agility, where she currently competes at Grade 6. We also do a little Canicross (cross-country running) to keep us busy.

“Inca is a joy to work with and a wonderful friend.

“I am really excited about my first time competing at Crufts – I can’t wait.”

Tom Mather, Crufts chairman, said: “Crufts offers something for everyone and this year looks like being no exception.

“Visitors to the show will be able to see dogs and their handlers taking part in a variety of activities and displays and we would urge anyone looking to buy a puppy to visit the ever-popular Discover Dogs area where they will be able to meet the breeds up close.

“We feel honoured to welcome dogs from a wider variety of breeds than ever before, representing all corners of the globe.

“The fact that people travel far and wide to enter this prestigious event proves that it really is the world’s greatest dog show.”

Crufts runs from March 7 to 10. Nearly 21,000 dogs will compete for best in show, including 3,611 dogs from overseas. Italy has the most entries from overseas with 413 dogs followed closely by France (389).

For more information, visit crufts.org.uk