LOOKING FORWARD TO CRUFTS
By Ann Evans
Photos by Rob Tysall
It’s almost Crufts time again and Ann Evans looks back on previous shows and looks forward to their 127th year.
Crufts, the world’s largest dog show returns 8th – 11th March, once again at the Birmingham NEC with massive TV coverage so that we don’t have to miss a moment. Every year around 28,000 dogs take part in the competitions and displays that Crufts brings, attracting a whopping 160,000 visitors who come along to enjoy the 4-day show.
The show was founded by Victorian showman and dog lover, Charles Crufts, who’s first show took place in 1891 at the Royal Agricultural Show in Islington. It’s come a long way since then, and this year’s event will be its 127 year.
Crufts is run by The Kennel Club of Great Britain and is a true celebration of all healthy dogs, from pedigree show dogs to working breeds, from rescue dogs to hero dogs. Throughout the year dogs have been competing in a wide range of qualifying rounds in their particular field to earn a coveted place at this special event.
But Crufts is much more than that. For prospective dog owners and dog lovers, Crufts is a great opportunity to talk to Kennel Club assured breeders, rescue charities and breed experts about how to responsibly buy, train and enjoy life with your dog. Plus there will be hundreds of trade stands at the event selling anything and everything for dogs and dog lovers.
There will also be many animal related charity stands such as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Dogs for Good, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Assistance Dogs, Dogs Theft Action, PAT Dogs and many more, raising awareness and funds to enable them to continue their amazing work. Many of them will be running demonstrations of how their dogs are trained to help people with special needs. There will also be demonstrations by the West Midlands Police Dogs, the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Display, Freestyle Heelwork, Rescue Dog Agility, an RAF display, a Gundog display and much more.
Competitors aren’t just aiming for Best in Show, there will be the Eukanuba Pup of the Year final, the International Junior Handling competition, the YKC Agility Dog of the Year final, the Vulnerable breeds competition, the Scrufts Final, Agility and Flyball to name but a few other competitions going on. The final day of Crufts culminates in the judging of Best in Show. And prior to that will be another show-stopping heelwork to music routine by Mary Ray.
Caroline Kisko secretary of the Kennel Club said: “We are delighted that the Channel 4 and More 4 will be offering viewers at home the opportunity to enjoy even more of this year’s Crufts. The event holds such a special place in dog lovers’ hearts because it celebrates everything that we love most about dogs. And the programmes will reflect on the benefits that dogs bring to our lives and the many fascinating aspects of Crufts.
“The enhanced TV coverage will not only bring exciting sports such as agility and flyball into people’s homes but it will enable people to see the diverse range of wonderful dog breeds including some of the more unusual breeds that are no often seen in the streets and parks across the county. Through out the dog show, aspect of Crufts it will also cover topics about choosing, caring for and enjoying life with dogs as well as different issues affecting dog owners in the UK.”
Don’t panic if you can’t get to the actual show. A record breaking 14 hours of Crufts TV will be on Channel 4 and More 4 hosted by Clare Balding who will be joined by Alan Carr in the afternoons and Channel 4’s super vet Professor Noel Fitzpatrick. Also, all the arena action from the show will be shown every day live on the Crufts Utube channel which can be found at: www.utube.com/crufts
Find out more and book tickets at: www.crufts.org.uk
Further details at www.crufts.org.uk