If you’re a dog person, Crufts is probably a highlight in your year. Whether you’re a show professional who has trained countless canines to compete for glory, a dedicated dog lover that makes the annual pilgrimage to the NEC for a few days of doggie fun and shopping, or whether you simply like to kick back on the couch and watch the highlights of the best in show from the comfort of your living room with your own pooch snuggled on your knee, when it comes to dogs, Crufts is where it’s at.
Organised by The Kennel Club, Crufts celebrates every aspect of the role that dogs play in our lives. The show was originally set up in Victorian times by the late Charles Cruft, with the first show taking place at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, in 1891. It was the first at which all breeds were invited to compete, with around 2,000 dogs and almost 2,500 entries.
Since then, things have got a little bit bigger! In 1991, Crufts was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest dog show, with more than 22,000 dogs participating in the conformation classes that year. Today it is estimated that approximately 27,000 dogs take part in Crufts on an annual basis, while 160,000 people are expected to attend the event. So, you could say that when Charles Cruft originally dreamt up the concept of Crufts, he was barking up the right tree.
Only dogs invited by the Kennel Club and Assistance Dogs are allowed to take part in the show. And while the main focus of the event is the breed show, during which thousands of dogs take part in trials that test skills such as their agility, obedience and ability to move in sync with music, Crufts also features a trade show, where visitors can buy pretty much anything and everything you could imagine for their pets.
Crufts also features a section at the event called Discover Dogs, where visitors to the show can meet more than 200 different breeds of dog and learn about them by speaking to respective owners and breeders. The show has experienced some controversy in recent years, with animal welfare organisations expressing (quite rightly) deep concern about modern dog breeding, where certain breeds display visibly exaggerated features which may cause serious health issues. However, it’s good to know that the Kennel Club and some breed clubs do seem to be committed to taking some steps to help improve the welfare of these dogs and we hope that this will continue.
Chris from the Noble Futures recruitment team attended the opening day of Crufts 2020 yesterday and early reports are that it’s another fantastic show. With five rings in operation: the Obedience Ring, the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Ring, the YKC Ring, the Dog Activities Ring and the Breed Rings, there’s so much to see and do and the trade stands offer a tantalising array of products and services to help you make sure your doggie is not wanting for anything. Chris really enjoyed getting round to speak with so many of our wonderful clients and brands that we work with.