When it comes to people active in the dog show world, March means only one thing-the world famous Crufts dog show takes place, with thousands of competing dogs and owners showing their stuff over a total of four days! Crufts culminates in the spectacular Best in Show competition on the final evening, which is hotly contested every year and televised all over the world.
If you are thinking of making a last minute visit to the show, have already booked your tickets or are even making last-minute preparations to your own dogs because they have been invited, read on for all of the info you’ll need to guide you around Crufts 2017.
Crufts 2017 runs from Thursday the 9th March to Sunday 12th March at the NEC in Birmingham. If arriving by train, get off at Birmingham International station, and the entrance to the NEC is right on the platform.
Events start from as early as 9am, and the doors open well before this to allow the general public to get in.
Advanced sales for Crufts tickets are now closed, but you can still buy tickets on the door. General admission tickets on the door are sold by the day, being £18 per day for the Thursday and Friday, and £20 per day on Saturday and Sunday, with children under 12 going free.
To attend the Best in Show event on Sunday, an additional ticket is required, which can be bought at the show, availability permitting.
Unless your dog has been invited to the show, you cannot bring your own pooch along for a look around. However, there will be plenty of chances to meet a huge range of dogs and even see some breeds that you might never even have heard of at the show itself.
Assistance dogs are of course permitted, and don’t expect every dog that you see to be a polished pedigree-dogs competing in sporting classes and obedience need not be a pedigree of any kind!
Over the course of the four days, a schedule is published in advance to allow people to plan their visits. The schedule covers the main events happening over the course of the show across the main arena and rings, but there is plenty to do outside of these times!
Each day sees a range of breed classes, displays and canine sports, including heats to thin out the field for the finals. Classes held towards the end of the week are the higher level heats, culminating in the Best in Show class and the other major awards on Sunday.
Sunday is generally the most popular day at the show, due to all of the finals and displays-however, an admission ticket for Sunday does not give you access to the main arena and finals-these have to be bought separately, and are often sold out by the Sunday itself.
For a full run-down of the day’s events, check out the Crufts website.
While the televised events in the main arena are what most people think of as being what Crufts is all about, there are so many fringe events and other activities that you would probably need a couple of days at the show just to get around them all!
When it comes to shopping, virtually everything you could imagine for dogs will be sold on stands at the show, including foods, accessories, supplements, and other things you may not even have thought of.
There are also stands showcasing dogs in all walks of life, such as assistance dogs, numerous canine charities and other organisations, as well as arenas where you can chat to vets, groomers and other professionals.
One of the most popular fringe events at the show is the “dogs of the world” section, which showcases virtually every single breed in the world, all ready to meet the public and with knowledgeable owners and handlers there to introduce you and tell you more about them.
When you get into the arena, you will be given a promotional bag for life with some free leaflets and info, and it is well worth hanging on to this to store all of the samples, leaflets and things that you might buy on your way around!
Children of all ages are most welcome at the show, and there are also events designed throughout the show specifically for kids of all ages to learn more about dogs, and get to meet some new breeds.
The way that the competing dogs are accommodated at the show means that you can go right up to them, and chat to their owners and handlers. This provides a great opportunity to learn about what it takes to make a show dog, what is involved in showing, and to pick up some tips.
Try to pick your moment for a chat though, as prior to competition, owners and handlers will be very busy trying to get the best performance out of their dogs and themselves.
Enjoy the show!