CRUFTS’ DOG DAYS

pet show - no blue textIf you’re a dog lover, like I am, then Crufts is your cup of tea. Watching this delightful event on telly, I find myself laughing out loud, or sometimes shedding a tear, as these bouncing, bright-eyed and always endearing four-legged friends go through the trials of the competition.

Crufts is the world’s largest dog show. Crufts began in 1891 and is reknown as the “greatest dog show in the world.”  Crufts is to dogs what Chelsea is to flowers. Guinness Book of Records calls it the “largest dog show.”  Whatever Crufts celebrity status mid-March is a date on the calendar that many of us look forward to.  I certainly do.  Bring on the Bow-Wows!

Last year 21,947 pedigree dogs from all over the planet entered the show. 150,000 happy visitors attend, more than 5,000 of them are from overseas and come specifically for this show, held in the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.  It is now 120 years since the first Crufts was staged by dog lover and entrepreneur Charles Cruft at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington.

The opening show attracted 2,000 dogs.  Charles Cruft created a magic formula which still works today.  It’s the combination of dogs, trade and publicity which keeps Crufts at the top.  After Charles’s death his wife ran the show until 1939 when she sold it to the Kennel Club.  The venue moved to Olympia, then to Earl’s Court.  For the last 20 years it’s been held at the NEC in Birmingham.

500 trade stands sell everything your best friends might need, from treats to portraits.  The competition demands obedience, agility, heel work, and demonstrations of working dogs of all kinds.  The breed with the highest number of entries is the Golden Retriever, but this popular breed has never won Best in Show.  The Cocker Spaniel is the breed with the most frequent Best in Show, followed by the Irish Setter and Welsh Terrier.

2014’s Best in Show was a Standard Poodle called Ricky, although my personal favourite was the Scottie.  This year the Kennel Club has been bombarded with complaints that there are “too many foreign dogs.”

One of my happiest moments in early spring is when I curl up in front of the fire to enjoy three or four days of the delightful antics of these happy-go-lucky, loyal pets of every size, colour and personality.

Mrs M

Crufts Dog Show
National Exhibition Centre
Birmingham

March Thursday 5 – Sunday 8

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