Crufts – Is it really the best dog show in the world?

A brief history of crufts

Cruft’s can trace its history back to 1891 when Charles Cruft (travelling salesman of Spratt’s dog cakes) organised the first show at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, London. 2,437 dogs of 36 different breeds took part in that first one but it has gone from strength to strength ever since. The show itself has run almost every year, with only major events, like Covid and the two World Wars causing postponements. Even this year, there were apparently a few exhibitors who hadn’t returned due to the pandemic, but it certainly felt like a busy event to me

What’s the point?

Firstly, I would say that the main point is to have fun! If you are a dog-lover, Crufts is the place to go and indulge. Areas like the ‘Discover Dogs’ section showcase all breeds including the more unusual ones, for example the Basenji Hound, which is on my wish list!.

Secondly, it’s a great place to shop. One of my sister’s Grand Bassett Griffon Vendéen dogs has a pinky coloured nose rather than a black one, so we stopped by the Dorwest stand to take their advice. They recommended some Elderberry and Nettle extract in the food. It’s a herbal remedy, of course, but then it’s only a cosmetic issue and doesn’t affect the dog’s wellbeing. We also stopped by the Emmi-pet stand to stock up on some more toothbrush heads and toothpaste that I use to clean dogs teeth.

Thirdly, it’s the best place to make useful contacts. I had a lovely chat with the people at Nibble and Nosh. Their gourmet and natural treats look so good I’m considering stocking them in my studio.

Last but definitely not least, you always learn something. We spent a happy hour or so watching the judging of the Irish Water Spaniels, working Labs and the Golden Retrievers and it was fascinating to see how their handlers and the judges worked with them.  I get to work with all sorts of dogs of all sizes as a groomer so it’s useful to see how other people handle them.

Criticism of Crufts

It makes me sad to see that there is still criticism of Crufts on platforms like Facebook, mostly from people being (quite rightly) critical of breeding and in-breeding practices that perpetuate problems for dogs. It’s quite well-known, for example, that some short-nosed breeds like Pugs can suffer with breathing problems due to breeders looking for the ‘perfect’ face. I would say to those critics that Crufts, as run by the Kennel Club, is actually part of the solution, not the problem. In 2008, the Kennel Club announced it was introducing breed health plans for 200 breeds of dog to help ensure both the dogs and the breeding practices were healthier. The Kennel Club’s aim is to have a breed health plan for every dog breed by the end of 2022. By ensuring that entrants to Kennel Club shows like Crufts have all followed this breeding plan, they are helping to stamp out these outdated practices. 

My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed our day out and will definitely go again in future. (In fact, I’m writing my shopping list already!) But is Crufts really the best dog show in the world? I can certainly say that it’s the best I’ve been to!