Petside attends Crufts 2011
Crufts is known worldwide as one of the largest and most prestigious dog shows in the world. However, most people's perception of the event is based on media coverage that highlights pristine dogs, straight faced owners and the formal, intimidating atmosphere of the green show ring. It doesn't take much longer than five minutes of entering the event to realise that there is much more to Crufts than Best in Show. In fact, as almost everyone who takes part in the event will tell you, while taking home a rosette is the dream of most breeders, the reason the majority of people really come to Crufts is for the sheer fun of it!
Given the amount of money and effort that it takes to show a dog at Crufts, it's not surprising that breeders yearn to take home an award. Owners spend hours in the dog benches, grooming and pampering their dogs, but like proud parents, they are also keen to show them off to other breeders, handlers, and members of the public who walked past. The areas where the dogs are kept is open to the public, so any visitor can approach the dogs and admire them, and most owners and dogs love the attention. Despite their perfect appearance, show dogs are just as friendly and playful as any other pets, and indeed the majority of dogs who enter Crufts are just that... family pets. Albeit a bit better looking than most peoples' dogs!
In addition to the pedigree dogs, there are hundreds of "mutts" at Crufts, taking part in competitions for agility and obedience, displaying special skills, and educating the public. Dogs taking part in the Heelwork to Music competition even showed off their dancing skills! The stories of many of the working dogs were equally amazing and inspiring, like the Medical Alert dog that warns a child's teacher when his owner's sugar levels are putting her at risk of Diabetic Coma, the Cancer Dogs that sniff out early stage cancer, the rescue dogs that located victims in the rubble of the natural disaster in Haiti, or the many, many other dogs that work with special needs individuals to make their lives easier and more fulfilling.
Crufts also has hundreds of stands, booths and displays featuring charities, products, services and breed information. Just about anything that a dog lover could want! There was a particularly strong focus on happy, healthy dogs this year, with a huge range of education to encourage responsible pet ownership, and the Kennel Club have made some impressive and effective innovations to help ensure the healthy future of all dogs that take part in the show.
Best in Show Winner
The official Best in Show award was taken home by the beautiful Flat Coated Retriever, SH CH VBOS THE KENTUCKIAN owned by Mr. Irvine, but in my experience, every dog who took part in Crufts deserves recognition for the part that they play in such a wonderful event.
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