While Best in Show is the most coveted prize in the dog world, today’s Crufts celebrates every aspect of the role that dogs play in our lives. From flyballers to forgotten breeds, dancing dogs to canine heroes, it’s the must-see event of the year for all dog lovers
Posted: 28 February 2019
Crufts is quite simply the greatest dog show in the world and is the number one event of the year for canine devotees. Since the very first show, organised by Charles Cruft in 1891 and held at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, Crufts has gone from strength to strength. In 2018, 21,500 dogs from 43 countries representing around 200 different breeds competed.
Today, Crufts is organised by the Kennel Club and its focus is on celebrating every aspect of the role that dogs play in our lives. As well as the coveted Best of Breed competitions and Best in Show award, there is much, much more for dog lovers to enjoy.
DID YOU KNOW?
Hundreds of crossbreeds now take part in Crufts, through Agility, Flyball, Heelwork to Music and Friends for Life competitions. At the Discover Dogs area, there’s also the opportunity for prospective dog owners to talk to Kennel Club Assured Breeders, rescue charities and breed experts about how to responsibly buy, train and enjoy life with a dog.
DID YOU KNOW?
Just some of the highlights include:
Good Citizen Dog Scheme Ring, where pet dogs can show off their best behaviour and owners their responsible attitude to dog ownership through obtaining a range of certificates from bronze to gold.
Rescue Dog Agility, which gives dogs who haven’t had the greatest start in life the opportunity to show just what they can do and shine in the show ring.
Friends for Life competition, which celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity where dogs have changed the lives of their owners through bravery, support or companionship. Last year’s winner, selected by public vote, was Sir Jack Spratticus, a rescue Border Terrier who, with his owner Vanessa Holbrow, has helped to raise awareness and break down the stigma attached to mental health issues.
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Flyball Finals– in a fast and furious demonstration of doggy teamwork, 16 teams from all over the country will strive to become Crufts Flyball champions 2019.
Police Dog Team Operational or Humanitarian Action of the Year award, which recognises canine heroes. Last year’s winner was Police Dog Mojo. Along with his handler Police Constable Phil Healy, Mojo was the first dog on the scene after the devastating bomb incident at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Mojo worked tirelessly, searching for secondary devices in horrendous conditions, to keep both the public and the responding emergency services safe in the aftermath.
The Save Forgotten Dog Breeds campaign, which aims to remind people about the 220 breeds of pedigree dog in the country, including Vulnerable Native British and Irish Breeds, that are at risk of disappearing, such as the Old English Sheepdog, Glen of Imaal Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Curly Coated Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel and English Toy Terrier.
Display team bonanza where all sorts of dogs will be putting their best paw forward to strut their stuff in the show ring. Teams include the East Anglian Staffordshire Bull Terrier Display Team, the West Midlands Police Display Team and the Southern Golden Retriever Display Team, who are sure to wow the audience with their impressive obedience routines to music.
Who was Charles Cruft?
When a young Charles Cruft ditched the idea of joining the family jewellery business to work for a Mr James Spratt selling ‘dog cakes’ in London, he had no idea the impact his career switch would have on the canine world.
An ambitious young man, Charles Cruft quickly rose from office boy to travelling salesman, which brought him into contact with large estates and sporting kennels. While in France, some French dog breeders 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, the first Cruft's show was booked into the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you can’t get to Birmingham, you can watch the highlights on Channel 4 and More 4 each evening from Thursday 5 March until Sunday 8 March. Clare Balding is at the helm, along with former Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas, world-renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, plus a guest appearance from Channel 4's very own 'Supervet', Noel Fitzpatrick.
Quiz: Can you guess the breed?
Celebrate Crufts by putting your canine knowledge to the test with our fun quiz. Can you identify these seven breeds from the following descriptions?
Source: crufts.org.uk. Photo of 2018 Best in Show winner Tease by Flick Digital