“Is Crufts 2021 cancelled?” might seem like something of a premature question given that we haven’t even seen out 2020 yet, but the question is quite a reasonable one as dog show competitors need to plan ahead and actually qualify to compete in Crufts many months in advance.
So, is Crufts 20201 cancelled, or will the world’s greatest dog show go ahead as planned?
Well, Crufts 2021 is going ahead, but with a few significant changes; including a change of date.
Read on to find out more about how Covid-19 will affect Crufts 2021, and what you need to know about plans for Crufts dog show in 2021.
Yes it is! The Kennel Club announced towards the end of November 2020 that Crufts 2021 will be going ahead, although several things will be rather different at Crufts 2021 than normal, including the dates it takes place on.
Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the UK as a whole have naturally had a huge knock-on effect on the dog showing calendar and related events too; and 2020 has seen the vast majority of shows, working dog trials and other forms of organised gatherings and competitive events for dogs and owners cancelled, meaning that the odds of Crufts 2021 itself going ahead at all were by no means a sure thing.
If you think back to March of 2020, that was perhaps the weirdest month many of us have ever experienced; at the start of the month, we’d all heard of Covid-19 and most of us were beginning to get somewhat concerned about its implications for us, but life was still carrying on largely as normal.
By the end of March 2020, the whole country was placed under its first and (so far) most acute lockdown, and everything had changed dramatically.
Crufts 2020 took place as planned (if not quite “as normal”) that March, at its usual venue of the NEC arena in Birmingham; but within a month of it finishing, the NEC was being transformed into an emergency overflow field hospital as part of plans to expand capacity for treatment of NHS patients.
The Crufts dog show usually takes place in early March, which means that it’s easy for dog show enthusiasts and would-be competitors hoping to attend the show to bookmark the space in their calendars for future years.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic means that Crufts 2021 will take place, but not at the normal time…
Crufts 2021 isn’t cancelled, but it will be happening later in the year than usual. Based on the Kennel Club’s recent announcement confirming that Crufts 2021 will go ahead, the date for the competition has changed from the norm and been put back by a few months.
Crufts 2021 will take place from the 15th-18th July 2021, four months later than its originally planned dates of 14-18th March 2021.
The venue for Crufts 2021 is… Still currently reserved for the NHS as a potential overflow hospital to help with the Covid-19 pandemic efforts.
Nonetheless, Crufts 2021 will go ahead at the NEC arena in Birmingham, which is its usual setting. Crufts 2021 marks the 130th anniversary of the competition, making it a landmark year; but plans for Crufts 2021 to go ahead as originally intended in March would have thrown the likelihood of the show happening at all into question.
While we don’t know for sure how things are going to look by July of next year, we do know that March of 2021 will almost certainly see us still living with a range of restrictions relating to Covid-19, and still feeling the acute effects of the pandemic; even if a working vaccine is in place by then and the pandemic seems to be beginning to get brought under control.
The NEC arena itself and the Kennel Club alike are confident that by delaying the show until July 2021, the event will be able to take place, with a number of changes and measure brought in to ensure a larger total area of space available for competitors and visitors to enhance safety and make the show viable to proceed with.
Put simply, we don’t know yet, but aside from the new date of Crufts 2021, how the show is organised, managed, and the expectations in terms of social norms by that point are likely to be quite different from previous years too.
However, summer of 2021 is the point by which most events organisers, sporting bodies, and analysts predict that sporting events and large gatherings will be able to begin to get back to something approaching normal, such as the reintroduction of spectators at large-scale sporting competitions.
More feedback and information will be provided as the date approaches; but for now, simply knowing that Crufts 2021 will go ahead and when it will happen is itself important information for many dog lovers hoping to make plans and needing something to look forwards to.
It is a little premature to try to guess how Crufts 2022 might look, given that we can’t say with any certainty how Crufts 2021 will work in practice.
But at present, the Kennel Club hopes that Crufts 2022 will be able to take place at its normal time of year, heralding a return to the usual showing calendar, and Crufts 2022 is bookmarked to take place from 10th-13th March 2022.