BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A tabby feline with big furry claws, bald cats with shell-like ears and skinny tails, and slobbery wrinkled pugs were the stars as Bucharest hosted a show featuring over 1,600 exotic pets.

The pet show in the Romanian capital kicked off with a free dog handling session for some of the 1,500 dogs. Owners proudly paraded their pets at the March 10-12 event or entered them into beauty contests.

Rare breeds of dogs, cats and exotic animals are status symbols in Romania — but there was plenty of affection too, as owners cuddled or performed with their dogs.

The array of pets included coiffed canines and bright-eyed cats. Exotic bald cats with webbed paws vied for attention with dogs like pugs or basset hounds.

One boy visiting the show got into a cage to hug a dozing cognac-colored dog about the same size as him.

Dogs took part from Romania, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.

Three pugs with tightly coiled tails stood on their hind legs seeking their owner's attention. Two basset hounds had silver scarves wrapped around their necks.

Lali the greyhound trotted along the red carpet with an alert expression, watching its owner toss a tennis ball in her hand.

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