Virtually every dog owner in the UK will be familiar with the world-famous Crufts Dog Show, which is held by The Kennel Club (UK) on an annual basis, and attended by thousands of dogs and their owners from all across the world.
However, aside from the side competitions for things like agility and flyball, there is one thing that sets Crufts apart from the average dog show, apart from the size of the show and the value of the prizes-only pedigree dogs that are registered with The Kennel Club can enter, as Crufts is first and foremost a breed show, and aims to celebrate and promote pedigree dog breeds.
This means that your average Heinz 57 mutt, mixed breed or hybrid cross (such as the ever-popular Labradoodle) cannot enter the show, because there are no classes for them-but as anyone who owns a common or standard mutt or non-registered pedigree will tell you, this does not mean that their dogs don’t have all the right moves!
Enter Scruffts, a Kennel Club-endorsed competition for all of the nation’s dogs that are not eligible to be shown at Crufts. Scruffts takes place in in range of different heats all across the UK at different times of the year, with the semi-finals being held at London’s Discover Dogs exposition in October, and the finals themselves being held at the main Crufts dog show the following June.
If you think your dog might have what it takes to star at Scruffs and maybe even make it all the way to the final, read on to learn more about this fun, friendly and generally informal show and how to enter!
Because Scruffts is not a breed show, it seeks to celebrate the popularity, desirable traits and good looks of dogs of all types, ages, shapes and sizes-not just those that fall within a certain breed designation!
The classes for Scruffts run across the UK at different times of the year in heats via which dogs can progress to the finals and semi-finals, with the core classes and competitions as follows:
The core difference between Scruffts and Crufts is that Scruffts is designed for non-pedigree dogs only-and so if you have a pedigree dog breed, they are not allowed in! This holds true even if your dog is not registered as a pedigree or considered to be a classic example of their breed-Scruffts is strictly for the mutts, which in this sense, means dogs that are a cross-breed and have ancestry from two or more different breeds.
Aside from this caveat, dogs between the ages of six months and twelve years can be entered into the appropriate class with no other restrictions!
Entering the initial heats of Scruffts is really easy and informal-you don’t have to register in advance, pay a lot of money or otherwise go through the formal invitation and acceptance process that you do with breed-specific dog shows.
Simply locate a Scruffts initial heat in your local area, and take your dog along on the day-sign up for the class of your choice (entry fees are usually as low as £2) and you’re good to go!
If your dog impresses the judges and places well in the show, they will be invited to move up through the stages of competition with a view to reaching the finals, held during the Crufts dog show itself.
Scruftts is designed to be a celebration of dogs of all shapes and sizes and the benefits that they can bring to people, and so the judging angle of the show is to identify dogs that have a nice shape and conformation without an affiliation to a specific breed.
Dogs must be healthy and in peak condition in order to stand a chance of ranking well in the show, and the judges will look particularly for desirable traits such as a good character and a nice temperament, and being calm, well-mannered and reliable with both the other dogs present, and a range of different people.
The competition for younger handlers is designed to show off both the dogs and the skills of their handlers, with a view to nurturing a lifelong love of and interest in dogs.