THOUSANDS of dogs and their owners flocked to Hampshire this weekend to take part in a huge festival just for them.

Dachshunds, dalmatians and dobermans alike descended on the Pylewell Park Estate in the New Forest for the UK’s first Dogstival.

A celebration of the joy dogs bring to our lives, visitors were able to enjoy dazzling displays, activities to try, treats, shopping, experts talks and more.

Daily Echo:

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, TV presenter and wildlife expert Chris Packham was set to host but as pulled out over safety fears.

The BBC Springwatch presenter angered the farming community after action by his environmental organisation, Wild Justice, resulted in a ban on shooting pigeons, crows and other birds.

Dogstival co-founder Richard Nowell said there were concerns the festival would be used as a target by people seeking to “publicly display and demonstrate their anger at Mr Packham”.

The festival also aimed to highlight more about the mental and physical wellbeing of their furry friend for a happier, healthier future together, as well as developing a greater understanding on what it takes to be a responsible pet owner in precious environments such as the New Forest.

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The event offered a range of activities and shows for dogs and owners to enjoy.

The Dogstival main arena allowed visitors to watch the skills of traditional working, therapy and assistance dogs from some of the best display teams in the UK, including Paws For Thought, The Rockwood Display and Little Nippers Lurcher and Terrier Show.

There was also a Dog House behavioural stage that was designed to look like a a home as the demonstrations tackled pets' behaviour in the house.

Daily Echo:

The demonstrations aimed to help owners get a deeper understanding of a dog’s wellbeing and behaviour from experts on topics that typically happen within the home such as mental stimulation, separation anxiety and diet.

Dogs also had plenty of activities to keep them entertained including flyball, agility and the K9 Aqua Sports Pool where dogs were encouraged to launch themselves into water and bring a tennis ball back to their owner.

The Dogstival Lounge was hosted by one half of BBC Radio’s Barking Blonde Anna Webb, where visitors could listen to inspiring talks and insights from patrons and partners including the New Forest Parks team, Lost Dog Book Reading by journalist Kate Spicer and Wolfie, as well as Vet on the Hill Dr Scott Miller.