ORGANISERS of a major new dog festival in the New Forest have teamed up with one of the UK's leading animal welfare charities.

The partnership between Dogstival and the RSPCA aims to raise funds for the charity as well as providing dog owners with information on pet welfare and responsible dog ownership.

Hosted by Hampshire wildlife expert Chris Packham, Dogstival will be held at Pylewell Park, near Lymington, on May 18-19.

Chris, who lives in the Forest, is a vice-president of the RSPCA.

Dogstival event director Richard Nowell said: "With the New Forest being home to one of the highest proportions of dog owners in the UK, with a reported 39% of households having at least one dog, the partnership provides the RSPCA with a ready-made audience.

“We are delighted to have a charity of the RSPCA’s stature joining the inaugural Dogstival weekend.

"Their tireless campaigning for animal welfare and especially rescuing, protecting and helping rehome dogs across England and Wales is something we wholeheartedly support.

"One of Dogstival’s aims is to help owners understand more about their four-legged friend.

"Diet and exercise are important but we want to look at the mental wellbeing and care which dogs need, from puppy through to adult, which dovetails perfectly with the RSPCA’s current #DogKind campaign.”

Dogstival will feature some of the UK’s leading dog display teams, plus a raft of have-a-go activities and more than 180 stands.

RSPCA events manager Anita Morris said: "We're really excited to be a part of the first ever Dogstival and are looking forward to introducing everyone there to the work of the RSPCA.

"We know the love between owners and their dogs is unconditional and with so many dog-lovers at the event we hope our #DogKind campaign helps owners to make sure their pooch pals are the happiest they can be.

"It's set to be a lot of fun for all the family - dogs included."

Tickets are £13.50 for adults, £7.50 for children aged six-16 years, with those under six going free. They are on sale at