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Crufts

Crufts is an annual international Championship conformation show for dogs organised and hosted by the Kennel Club (UK), currently held every March at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England. It is the largest annual dog show in the world, as declared by the Guinness Book of Records, and lasts four days.

Crufts consists of several competitions occurring at the same time. The main competition is for the Best in Show award, which is generally considered the highest award achievable by a dog and its owner.

History

Crufts was named after its founder, Charles Cruft. Charles Cruft worked as general manager for a dog biscuit manufacturer, travelling to dog shows both in the United Kingdom and internationally, which allowed him to establish contacts and understand the need for higher standards for dog shows. In 1886, Cruft's first dog show, billed as the "First Great Terrier Show", had 57 classes and 600 entries. The first show named "Crufts"—"Cruft's Greatest Dog Show"— was held 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.

With the close of the 19th century, entries had risen to over 3,000, including royal patronage from various European countries and Russia. The show continued annually and gained popularity each year until Charles' death in 1938. His widow ran the show for four years until she felt unable to do so due to its high demands of time and effort. To ensure the future and reputation of the show (and, of course, her husband's work), she sold it to The Kennel Club.

In 1936, "The Jubilee Show" had 10,650 entries with the number of breeds totalling 80. The 1948 show was the first to be held under the new owner and was held at Olympia, where it continued to gain popularity with each passing year. The first Obedience Championships were held in 1955. In 1959, despite an increase in entrance fees, the show set a new world record with 13,211 entrants. By 1979, the show had to be moved to Earls Court exhibition centre as the increasing amount of entries and spectators had outgrown the capacity of its previous venue. Soon, the show had to be changed again—the duration had to be increased to three days in 1982, then again in 1987 to four days as the popularity continued to increase. Since 1991, the show has been held in the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, the first time the show had moved out of London since its inception.

It was also at the Centenery celebrations in 1991 that Crufts was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the worlds largest dog show with 22,973 dogs being exhibited in conformation classes that year. Including agility and other events, it is estimated that an average 30,000 dogs take part in crufts each year, with an estimated 150,000 human visitors attending the show.

Competing for Best in Show

Crufts is not an open competition; dogs must have qualified by successfully competing at lesser championship shows throughout the previous year.

Dogs compete in hierarchical fashion, beginning with dogs of the same breed. The judge will award several certificates (titles); culminating with Best of Breed and Best Puppy. (See the entry at Best of Breed for a description of the competition)

Dogs can also compete within each breed. These classes include Veteran, Spec puppy, Spec junior, Spec yearling, Post grad, Mid limit, Limit, and Open. Each is awarded once for dogs and once for bitches.

After the best of each breed has been chosen, they then compete with the others in their Group (in the UK, there are seven Groups: Toys, Gundogs, Utility, Hounds, Working, Pastoral, and Terriers) to find the Best in Group. The seven Group winners then compete to find the Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show.

Best In Show Champions (last 10 years)

Year Breed Kennel Club Name Class
2008 Giant Schnauzer CH JAFRAK PHILIPPE OLIVIER Working
2007 Tibetan Terrier CH & AM CH ARAKI FABULOUS WILLY Utility
2006 Australian Shepherd AM CH CAITLAND ISLE TAKE A CHANCE Pastoral
2005 Norfolk Terrier CH & AM CH CRACKNOR CAUSE CÉLÈBRE Terrier
2004 Whippet CH COBYCO CALL THE TUNE Hound
2003 Pekingese CH YANKEE A DANGEROUS LIAISON Toy
2002 Poodle (Standard) CH & NORD CH TOPSCORE CONTRADICTION Utility
2001 Basenji CH JETHARD CIDEVANT Hound
2000 Kerry Blue Terrier CH TORUM'S SCARF MICHAEL Terrier
1999 Irish Setter SH CH CASPIANS INTREPID Gundog
1998 Welsh Terrier CH SAREDON FOREVER YOUNG Terrier

Other competitions

Another competition is the dog agility competition, where the dogs undergo a time trial, where they must manoeuvre, with the guidance of their owners, through, over, and around different obstacles. Any mistake made by the dog is penalized by adding time to their result. Dogs must qualify during the preceding year to compete in individual or team events.

Next is the obedience competition. Dogs qualify by being successful at shows during the preceding year to compete in the Dog and Bitch UK Obedience Championships, UK Inter-Regional Team Competition and the crowd's favourite the Obedience World Cup. The prizes are awarded to the most obedient dog according to the judges after they have undergone various demanding activities, such as offlead heelwork at different paces, distance control, retrieve, sendaway, stays and scent discrimination.

The Flyball competition is a relay-style race. Teams of four dogs compete against each other in a knock-out competition. Each dog jumps a series of four hurdles, and then steps on a box, which is rigged to release a ball. The dog must then return the ball to the start of the course to tag one of its team, who then repeats this process until all the dogs have finished.

Crufts also holds a musical canine freestyle competition, also called heelwork to music in the UK.

Other attractions

Crufts drew 160,000 visitors to the NEC in 2008. While the main purpose of the event is the search for the best dog in the show, many trade stands sell a wide range of dog-related merchandise, or advertise dog-related charities. There is also a section known as Discover Dogs where visitors can see almost every breed recognised by the Kennel Club on view, and discuss each breed with knowledgeable owners.

Crufts also holds special shows and demonstrations, where specially trained dogs may perform in front of an audience.

Crossbreeds

The popularity of Crufts and the interest of dog owners who don't own purebreds convinced the Kennel Club to hold Scruffts, a show similar to Crufts for crossbreed dogs.

Popular culture

See also

References

External links

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