Grrr-eat! World record walkies!

DOGS of all shapes and sizes gave a helping paw to smash the world record in South Shields yesterday.

The Great North Dog Walk demolished its own Guinness World Record for the largest dog walk in the world, as a staggering 12,339 pooches pounded The Leas, representing 162 breeds.

Last year, 10,272 dogs took part, spread across 154 different breeds.

A delighted Tony Carlisle, founder and organiser of the 3.5-mile walk, said: "I'm just so proud we've done it again. We're the biggest and best in the world.

"It was great to see the deputy mayor swelling with pride. It's fantastic for the borough – what an accolade to have for South Tyneside!

"The event is getting bigger and better. This really makes all the hard work everyone has put in worth it. It's like winning the lottery, only better."

This year, a further three world records were broken in the sub-categories.

Steve Wilkinson, 46, of Jarrow, broke his own record of 6m 12s with his dog Blue, for the fastest senior doggy mile.

He reached the mile mark nine seconds faster than last year. The 2008 event saw a junior champion for the first time ever in the Under-16s World Trophy. Adam Wright, 15, from South Shields, reached the mile in 6min 4sec with his dog Lily.

The senior record for the course was broken by Chris Tillbrook with his pet Cassie, when they crossed the finish line in 18m 34sec.

The fastest woman was Vicky Thompson, who came in at 21min 12sec.

Deputy Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun John Anglin, officially started the walk.

Before the ribbon was cut, he said: "This is a fabulous event. It's amazing to think that on the first walk there were just 13 dogs taking part.

"Last year there were over 10,000, which just shows you how far it has come.

"Over the years, the Americans have tried to beat us, but we've out-performed them every time.

"This event has a staggering 12 world records, and I hope we beat it again this year.

"This event is also so good because of the money it raises for dog charities, which also help people as well."

Little Jack Russell Bobby looked as cool as they come, as he crossed the finish line wearing a top which declared 'I'm too sexy for my shirt'.

His owner, Donna McVey, from South Shields, said: "This is the third time we've done it and the record's been broken every time. Bobby must be a lucky charm."

It was spotted Dalmatian Lola's first time in the event, after being given a new home when she was taken in from a rescue dog centre last year.

Her owner, Neil Foster, from South Shields, said: "I got her from a dog rescue centre last year and when I read about this walk I thought it would be a good treat for her.

"It's great that she helped break the world record on her first year."

The event was sponsored by Butcher's, and raised money for several dog

charities.