discussing Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show

On Ireland AM this week, we’re featured Crufts, with two dogs in studio:  a Hovawart and a Havanese, both of which are going to Crufts this week

Crufts is still the world’s biggest dog show, including the highs and some of the lows of what goes on in the dog world. It’s at the NEC in Birmingham, organised by the Kennel Club as their annual flagship event.

Crufts was a central part of the UK establishment until 2008, when the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed put the spotlight on poor health in pedigree dogs. At that stage, the BBC dropped live coverage, major sponsors dropped out, and even the mainstream charities stopped supporting the event.

The Kennel Club responded by working harder to improve the health aspects of its work, and the event has continued with new sponsors, and coverage on More 4 as well as live online streaming. With the lessening of travel restrictions on dogs, Crufts has become more of an international event.

The pedigree show always seems to make the headlines, but for me, this has always been more of a curiosity than anything else. I’m more interested by other aspects, such as the agility, dog training, dog dancing, and the huge exhibition that includes products and services as well as assistance dogs – from Dogs for the Disabled to Medical service dogs.

Some of the goings on include:

+ 22,000 dogs competing for the world class title of Crufts Best In Show, including around 250 animals travelling over from Ireland

+ The Arena showcasing displays and competitions with dogs doing agility, sniffing, “dancing”, including the Scruffts final

+ The Discover Dogs area, with over 200 pedigree breeds to meet

+ The Good Citizen Dog Scheme training ring, the UK’s largest dog training programme with loads of tips for dog owners

+ Dog Activities Ring, where you can learn how to unleash your dog’s potentia

+ Breed Rescue stands

+ Over 400 trade stands with special show offers and exciting new products for dogs and their owners

If you’ve never been to Crufts, think about going: if not this year, then plan for next year. It’s a remarkable centre of dog-related madness and glory.

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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