Anyone who has even a passing interest in dogs cannot have failed to have realised that the world famous Crufts dog show took place over the 5th-8th March, and naturally, plenty of TV coverage and activity on social media accompanied the show at Birmingham’s NEC arena, which played host to over 27,000 dogs as well as around 160,000 people!
In this first of two articles about this year’s Crufts dog show, I will cover the highlights, the best parts of the show, and the main winners in the event, as well as what happens in and around the show’s main arena.
In order to bring your dog to Crufts, your dog has to be invited, either to compete or to take part in a show or display, and you cannot just visit with your own dog for a day out!
All of the dogs that competed at Crufts gained their invitation by winning heats and classes in other affiliated events prior to the show, and so the Crufts competitors can fairly be described as being at the top of their field, either in terms of their breed standard for breed classes, or for their skills and talents for activity-based classes.
Crufts runs over the course of four days, with heats and qualifiers running over the first couple of days, interspersed with displays, lectures and shows in the many arenas at the site. The final two days of the show are the most heavily attended, and this is when the finals take place to award the ultimate winners, culminating in the Best in Show event on the final evening.
There are literally hundreds of winners at Crufts, with awards being given for breed classes, canine sport and many other elements. The full list of all of the winners across all of the classes can be found on the Crufts official website, here.
The winner of Best in Show this year was a Scottish terrier named Mcvan’s To Russia With Love, although she generally goes by the kennel name of Knopa. Knopa was bred and raised in America, and flew over to compete at the show with her owner Mrs. M L Khenkina and handler, Rebecca Cross. Knopa is the first Scottish terrier to win Best in Show at Crufts since 1929!
The Reserve Best in Show went to a flat coated retriever named Castlerock Simply Magic, or “Dublin” at home, who hails from Sweden and is owned by Miss. Annette Dyren. Dublin was a favourite with the crowds, clearly very much enjoying being in the spotlight and proudly holding his rosette in his mouth when presented with it!
As well as the breed classes and heats of the various canine sports, the programme in the main arena was interspersed with a range of informative and entertaining canine displays. Retrieving gun dogs, working police dogs and many more entertained the crowds by going through their paces and showing what they do within their working roles, and many charities and rescue organisations also got the chance to showcase some of their dogs, including greyhound rescue and Manchester Dogs Home, which was gutted by a serious arson attack in 2014 and is still in the process of regrouping.
Hundreds and hundreds of commercial stalls lined the different halls of the NEC, offering literally every product and device known to man, from collars and leads to specialist supplements to every brand of food imaginable.
Many stalls offered interactive displays and events such as “meet the vet” and other guests designed to provide information and advice to visitors about their own dogs. Many canine charities and rescue organisations also had stalls at the event, including Medical Detection Dogs and Birmingham Dogs Home among many others.
The “meet the dogs” section of the show was incredibly popular with visitors of all ages, and consisted of rows of stalls each designed to showcase a particular breed. Every common breed within the UK and a lot of relative unknowns were present at the show, with canine ambassadors for each breed present for the public to meet, learn about and photograph. This was one of the most popular parts of the show.
As you might expect, the NEC is a huge indoor arena located in an industrial area of Birmingham, and so for competitors and the other canine attendees, simply popping outside to a nearby field to do their business was not an option!
Crufts had this in hand with large, specially designated toileting tents outside of the different halls, which were lined with sawdust and bark to provide an inviting surface for the dogs to do their business. Owners were of course still expected to clean up after their dogs at all times!
Photos Credit :onEdition