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Crufts 2021: Kennel Club Announces Cancellation

Despite announcing in November 2020 that Crufts 2021 would go ahead albeit at a later than normal date, the Kennel Club have been forced to reverse this decision and announce the cancellation of Crufts 2021. 

This is due to the ongoing impact of the Covdi-19 pandemic, and the associated risks and restrictions that are still in place to manage it (as of March 2021) and uncertainty over how things might look later on in the year too. Even if things were back to some kind of near-normal operation by the previously planned date, uncertainty and insufficient time to arrange everything have meant that it would be more or less impossible to go ahead with Crufts 2021.

This article will tell you more about the Crufts 2021 cancellation, and what’s going to happen in 2022. Read on to learn more.

What is Crufts?

Crufts is in its simplest terms, a dog show; but it is in fact the world’s largest and longest running dog show, considered depending on who you speak to as the most prestigious dog show in the world or the most controversial! Crufts is an annual event (in normal times) that takes place over the course of four days, culminating in the internationally televised Best in Show event, which is always hotly contested and generates a lot of conversation around the world.

Heats and showing events take place all through the year leading up to Crufts to qualify dogs to compete, and it is generally seen as the culmination of the year’s showing calendar. 

Crufts is operated by The Kennel Club, and in recent years, has taken place at Birmingham’s NEC area, in March of each year.

Was Crufts due to take place in 2021?

Yes, despite the ongoing restrictions and risks of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kennel Club formally announced in November of 2020 that Crufts 2021 would go ahead, but later in the year than normal; having been arranged for 15-18 July 2021.

This date was decided upon after a great deal of consideration as it was felt at that time that the greatest risk of Covid and the associated pressure that Covid infections place on the NHS would have passed, due to a combination of the level of roll-out of Covid vaccines and a gradual easing of restrictions as the UK moved out of lockdown.


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Did Crufts 2020 go ahead?

Yes, Crufts 2020 took place, and was in fact one of the UK’s very last large-scale events to have run; this being in March 2020 with the UK entering its first and most restrictive lockdown on 23rd March 2020.

Crufts 2020 took place at Birmingham’s NEC arena from 5th-8th March; and by the end of the Month, the NEC was being repurposed into a field hospital to help to handle Covid-19 patients.

Why isn’t Crufts 2021 going ahead?

In the Kennel Club’s recent announcement signalling the formal cancellation of Crufts 2021, the Kennel Club cited ongoing uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and concern over the health of attendees, including visitors, competitors, traders, judges, and the NEC’s own staff.

Despite protracted discussions between the Kennel Club and NEC management over how the event could be held safely, ultimately the stakeholders involved concluded that there was no viable means to enable this.

While we’re expecting to see a fairly large-scale return to the possibility of holding big, organised outdoor events in 2021, indoor events are rather more complex to manage, and come with higher risks of infection.

The Kennel Club also surveyed people in the dog world about their thoughts on the return to normal and the resumption of showing events and other forms of competitions, and while 60% of respondents were keen to get back to their normal dog-related events and competitions, 63% weren’t comfortable with the idea of doing so as things stand.

2021 would have been Crufts’ 130th anniversary year, and when the decision was made in November 2020 to hold the event but rather later than normal, it was widely thought that we’d be largely out of the woods by then and that it would be safe to do so.

However, the beginnings of a potential third wave of Covid-19 in Europe and the ongoing restrictions on international travel (with a reasonable number of both competitors and judges as well as of course regular visitors to Crufts coming from overseas) have combined to mean that Crufts 2021 has been cancelled for safety and logistical reasons.

Is Crufts going to go ahead in 2022?

Crufts 2022 is all set to go ahead, and a date has already been named for this; Crufts 2022 is scheduled to run from March 10th-13th, at Birmingham’s NEC arena. It is difficult to imagine right now, with almost a year to go, that anything could transpire to change or affect this, but if the last year has taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected where Covid-19 is concerned.

But Crufts 2022 is theoretically going to go ahead as normal, from 10th-13th March.


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