A TAIL WAGGING EVENT
By Ann Evans
It will soon be time for Crufts! The world’s most prestigious dog show will be at the NEC Birmingham again from 5th to 8th March, and you can bet that pedigree pooches all over the world who have got through their preliminary competition rounds will be being getting pampered and preened ready for their big day.
Around 21,500 dogs will be attending the four-day show that covers breed judging, gamekeepers’ classes, obedience and agility champions and more. Not to be missed is the Discover Dogs area where you can learn more about some 200 different breeds and see if they would fit into your lifestyle.
Plus of course around 400 stalls making it a shopper’s paradise. And of course the arenas where you can see displays of flyball, agility, heelwork to music and competitions including the final of Scruffts and lots more – everything in fact to interest dog lovers of all ages.
Of course the main highlight of the show is the judging of the Best in Show. Last year it was won by the magnificent black standard poodle Afterglow Maverick Sabre – or ‘Ricky’ for short.
Gerald King, Crufts Chairman, said: “We are delighted that the entries to Crufts remain strong and steady. We feel honoured to welcome dogs from such a wide variety of breeds and to welcome dogs representing all corners of the globe. The fact that people travel far and wide to enter this prestigious event is testament to the place it continues to hold in people’s hearts and we intend to keep going from strength to strength.
“We look forward to welcoming all the dogs and their owners, who make Crufts such a wonderful event, whether it is those who have been loyally returning for many years or those who are experiencing the show for the first time.”
As a regular writer for the dog press, my photographer, Rob Tysall and I have covered numerous canine stories over the years, and Crufts is the ideal place for us to catch up with people, organisations and canine charities that we’ve written about and to find out what’s new in their world – and of course to look out for new stories to cover.
The Heelwork to Music events are always a highlight of the show. This year the sensational Mary Ray will again be entertaining the Sunday crowds and the millions watching on TV at home, when she teams up once again with Heelwork to Music/Canine Freestyle handler, Richard Curtis. Richard is one of the UKs leading Heelwork to Music/Canine Freestyle handlers. Together their brilliant 2014 routine hit the one-millionth mark for Utube views some time back, so this year’s routine is bound to be equally spectacular.
A year or two back Rob and I were delighted to interview both Mary Ray and Richard Curtis at their homes, when they chatted about the work they do and their passion for dogs. We will be sharing these interviews and photographs with you in a future article. For us it was such a privilege to see their lovely dogs relaxing and having fun at home as well as showing off some of their tricks! Can’t wait to see what they’ve got up their sleeves this year.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are very proud to welcome to Crufts those dogs and people who are at the top of their game in their own dog related activity, whether showing, agility, flyball, obedience, the gamekeepers competition or heelwork to music. Crufts is an event for everybody and there is so much entertainment and information for all dog lovers, helping to inspire new generations of people to take part in activities with their dogs.”
Crufts takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 5th – 8th March, opening times 8.15am-7.30pm.
Tickets are from £16.50. Car parking is £10 per day.
For details and to book tickets, visit: www.crufts.org.uk
Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall of www.tysallsphotography.org.uk and the Kennel Club.