There will be two new sheep classes at this year’s Royal Highland Show, with the Dutch Spotted and Valais Blacknose breeds joining the competition.

Judging the Dutch Spotted will be Brian Davies of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, who is a trustee of the Dutch Spotted Sheep Society, while David Hodge, of Okehampton, Devon, current joint chairman of the Valais Blacknose Society, will be assessing that notoriously photogenic breed.

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland has also announced that this year's Highland will have four of its existing equestrian classes upgraded to HOYS Qualifiers for 2022, alongside two new classes, the Maxi Cob of the Year Championship and Mountain & Moorland Junior 122cm Working Hunter Pony of the Year.

Read more: Alan Laidlaw: Looking forward to the 2022 Royal Highland Show

The HOYS upgrades will apply to the Topham Barnes Riding Horse of the Year; The Harrod & Coles Family Cob of the Year; the British Show Pony Society Children's Riding Pony of the Year; and the National Pony Society/Baileys Horse Feeds Mountain & Moorland Ridden New Forest Pony of the Year – a class returning to the show for the first time since 2016.

Competitions manager, David Tennant, commented: “We are really looking forward to seeing the two new sheep sections judged for the first time ever at the Royal Highland Show, with Dutch Spotted and Valais Blacknose included due to their popularity and commercial impact.

“The HOYS classes provide new qualification opportunities for equestrians hoping to attend the Horse of the Year Show in October.”

Competition entries are due open in late March, when the schedule of competitions will also be released. Supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Royal Highland Show will take place at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, on June 23-26.