CRUFTS TIME AGAIN
By Ann Evans
Photos by Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography
It’s that time of year again, when dog lovers, dog breeders and dog owners take grooming to new heights as they prepare for showing off their four-footed friends in the hallowed Crufts’ showrings.
This year is the 126th Crufts Show, and it takes place once again at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from 9th to 12th March.
Some 21,838 dogs are all set to take part in the world’s largest dog show, with 3,469 dogs competing from 55 overseas countries. They will be keeping their paws crossed in the hope of winning the ultimate accolade of being judged Best In Show.
Crufts is ultimately a celebration of all dogs. The organisers of the show, The Kennel Club endeavour to train judges so that only healthy dogs win prizes which in turn encourages the breeding of healthy dogs.
But Crufts is much more than winning prizes. It celebrates all manner of canines from working dogs to crossbreeds. It also hails hero dogs through the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition – visit Crufts’ website, read this year’s finalists and vote for the one you feel is most deserved.
The show offers a multitude of entertaining events and canine displays including gundogs, West Midlands Police, flyball, agility, Good Citizen Dog Scheme, Heelwork to Music with the ever popular Mary Ray, PAT Dog of the Year competition, and the Scruffts final which takes place on Saturday 11th March, to name but a few.
Plus there’s plenty for youngsters with the Young Kennel Club Kid’s Zone, the International Junior Handling Competition, and the Junior Warrant Competition. There will be a host of trade stands selling all the latest canine products, plus many animal charities and rescue centres will be represented at the show.
If you love dogs, and especially if you are thinking about buying a puppy but can’t make up your mind as to which breed to choose, then the Discover Dogs area – sponsored by Eukanuba, is not to be missed. You can meet over 200 breeds of pedigree dog and have the chance to talk to their knowledgeable owners and breeders and see whether a breed is right for you.
Last year over 160,000 visitors attended Crufts, the highest number ever, with around 5 million viewers tuning in to watch Best in Show. This year, dog lovers can look forward to a record-breaking 11 and a half hours of television coverage. Presenter Clare Balding will once again at the helm with Channel 4 and More4 broadcasting all the action across the four days of the show, leading up to the grand finale on Sunday when Best in Show will be crowned.
Last year the coveted trophy and title went to West Highland White Terrier, Ch Burneze Geordie Girl owned by Miss M Burns and Mrs A Burns of Devon. No doubt millions of people will once again be glued to their TV screens on Sunday to see which dog will be this year’s winner.
Crufts was set up by the Charles Cruft (1852-1938) After leaving college as a young man he chose not to enter the family’s jewellery business but to work for James Spratt’s company selling ‘dog cakes’. As a travelling salesman, his work brought him into contact with large estates and sporting kennels, and when he travelled to Europe in 1878, his entrepreneurial talents were spotted by French dog breeders who invited him to organise the promotion of the canine section of the Paris Exhibition. Back in England in 1886 he took up the management of the Allied Terrier Club Show at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster. Then in 1891 he organised the very first Cruft’s dog show at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington – and the rest is history.
About the Kennel Club
Crufts is run by the Kennel Club. Founded in 1873, the Kennel Club is the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs. Through programmes and investments in education and health initiatives along with lobbying the Government on canine issues, it strives to help dog owners across the UK to have healthy, happy dogs living long lives with responsible owners. The Kennel Club is also a voluntary register for all dogs, whether crossbreed or pedigree, and runs an Assured Breeder Scheme whose members have agreed to follow Kennel Club high standards for breeding puppies. In addition to running Crufts, it licenses over 4,500 dog shows and other events each year. The Kennel Club also owns Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found 24/7 database for microchipped pets.
For more information visit: http://www.crufts.org.uk/