Pics courtesy of Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography
Crufts – the world’s greatest dog show opens this Thursday. Ann Evans offers a glimpse of what’s to come.
Crufts, it’s the main event of the year for all dog fans, and the show is back at the Birmingham NEC from Thursday to Sunday this week (7th-10th March). It’s not all about showing pedigree dogs however, there’s everything here for anyone who owns a dog or is thinking about getting a dog – pedigree or crossbreed, a rescue dog, an elderly pet or a puppy. It’s simply a show for dog lovers.
Visitors can enjoy 550 shopping stands spread throughout the 5 halls, offering everything for you and your dog: food, bedding, grooming, walking, travelling, lots of household ornaments and furnishings with a canine twist. Also, many animal charity stands will be there, showing the public the work that they do, and how you can get involved if you wish.
The show is packed full of entertainment and activities that the dogs and handlers love, such as the noisy excitement of Flyball, and the speed and skills of agility; also, delightful displays of heelwork to music. Visitors can also learn more about how dogs can enjoy being a good canine citizen with the Good Citizen Dog Scheme.
In the Discover Dogs area, you can meet and learn about around 200 different breeds of pedigree dog. You can talk to their knowledgeable owners and breeders and get first hand advice on grooming, training, feeding and whether that breed would be right for you – a perfect opportunity if you are thinking about getting a new companion.
For younger dog lovers, in fact anyone aged between 6-24, may be interested in discovering more about the Young Kennel Club area where they will be enjoying their own ‘Junior Crufts’. Here senior YKC members are on hand to talk about how young people can take their first steps into the world of dogs. The YKC ring showcases the top young people in the country, and there will be a variety of competitions and displays over the four days.
Not to be missed is the Junior Warrant Competition. Competitors compete for the coveted title ‘Junior Warrant Winner of the Year’ award. Each year, a series of qualifying heats are held by General Canine Societies around the country scheduling Open Shows during August and September, culminating in the final event at Crufts.
Another major competition going on will be the 11th Eukanuba World Challenge which returns to Crufts for the second time. The competition will see up to 60 of the world’s top champion dogs competing for the title of Eukanuba World Challenge Champion.
The ever popular Scruffts final for crossbreeds takes place on the Saturday. Scruffts is the nation’s favourite crossbreed competition and is a great way to enjoy time with your dog and family. Scruffts is a fun competition, but it also seeks to stress important messages relating to responsible dog ownership. Heats are supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved and take place throughout the year. This year’s Scruffts competition attracted over 1,200 crossbreeds and their owners.
Then there is the wonderful Friends for Life Competition which celebrates the unique relationship people have with their dogs. The winner is chosen by the general public. Voting is still open and you can see these heart-warming stories here: https://www.crufts.org.uk/content/the-kennel-club-friends-for-life/
At Crufts you can also learn more about British Vulnerable Breeds, that is breeds whose numbers are declining and whose status within the world of dogs has diminished over a number of years. The Vulnerable Breeds Competition at Crufts raises awareness of these breeds as well as recognising the people who are dedicated to the survival and prosperity of them. There are currently 29 breeds on the vulnerable list including the Bloodhound, English Setters and King Charles Spaniels.
Plus of course, there are 36 Showing Rings where you can watch your favourite breeds competing all day long. Around 21,000 pedigree dogs from all around the world are expected to take part, all hoping to get through to the final seven places in the final. The main event is the Crufts 2019 Best in Show final held on the Sunday. In 2018 this was won by Tease (Ch Collooney Tartan Tease) a two-and-a-half-year-old Whippet, owned by Yvette Short of Edinburgh. I wonder who will be top dog this year.
Crufts takes place from 7th – 10th March 2019 at the Birmingham NEC. Tickets and more details from: www.crufts.org.uk