door Karl DonvilCRUFTS 2017: What if Crufts....
This year's edition was once more a success with 21.838 entries. It is never clear to me if this is the real number of dogs or if this is the number of entries, are this the dogs for the show only or for all competitions, and what about the participating dogs for Scruffs (mixed breeds). How absolute this number is, is not at all clear. If I open the catalog and have a look on the breeds I see a significant difference between number of dogs and number of entries, just because dogs can be entered in more than one class while for the FCI a dog can only be entered in one single class. I tried to count them and I came up with a total that is significantly larger for the number of entries. So I presume it must be the number of dogs. On the contrary, in the press map we can read "taking part in breed judging, Gamekeepers'classes and the Obedience and Agility Championships". So, what about the claim to be the biggest dog show in the World? The biggest FCI World Shows and European Shows show often similar numbers. The World Dog Show of Russia had 26.500 dogs in competition. All shows are acting somewhat mysterious about the numbers of dogs. The FCI shows sometimes include de club shows and breed specialties. Is it important? No, not really, except that Crufts is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest show in the world, and that seems of utmost importance for the Kennel Club. But what if England applies more difficult rules as a consequence of the Brexit? What would the result be if most of the 3.469 entries from overseas will no longer come over? That would be a real disaster with numbers going down under 20.000! But no worries, at least not so far. Foreign exhibitors like to qualify for Crufts and come over to compete. And who cares what is the biggest show ever? The number of overseas entries increase year after year because people can travel more easily and cheaper than ever (and that will affect all the big continental shows too). But Crufts is special, as is winning at Crufts, as is participating at Crufts, as is visiting Crufts. The magic continues.
The number of foreign entries increased with 2% compared to last year and the number of countries climbed from 47 to 55 with dogs from Puerto Rico, Georgia, Guadeloupe and Réunion. The biggest invasion came from France with 418 dogs, Italy next with 373, then the Netherlands with 327 and Republic Ireland with 305. The United Kingdom itself had 18.369 entries and we have to go down the list to the 18th place to see the very first non-European country, the United States with 39 entries and again to the 28th place to find the second, Japan with 11 entries. From the 56 countries, 20 countries were intercontinental countries but they represent only 90 entries. That means that we can conclude that Crufts is not more international than most of the FCI big shows. Finland 58 countries in 2014 and 21247 dogs entered. But it is no secret that the British are very chauvinist. Two new breeds compete this year and that sets the foreign doors more open of course, as those breeds are recognized much earlier overseas. Suppose next year the Kennel Club would accept all FCI recognized breeds, I think we would have easily 1000 more foreign participants. At least there is a tendency to adopt more and more breeds that are recognized by the FCI. Maybe it would be an option to accept all the FCI breeds but not give them CC's until there are sufficient dogs entered on shows. That would dim the popularity of certain breeds like what happens with the French Bulldog. In only one year there was an increase of 47% . The breed had 21.470 puppy registrations over the last year, almost equal to the Cocker Spaniel, and that worries the Kennel CLub! The Labrador Retriever still takes the first place with 33.856 registrations, but still. How long till the Frenchie surpasses the Labrador. In 2007, not even ten years ago, there were only 670 registrations, that's an increase with 5053% ! The Miniature Smooth Dachshunds has doubled too in 10 years, while the Smooth Chihuahua has tripled. People are very sensitive to certain trends, imitating celebrities or movies. That proves that people don't mind about the breed that much, as long as it is popular and trendy. The Westie and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dropped out of the top ten list, another proof that trends define the number of puppy registrations. The Kennel Club does everything it can to counter trends, bringing certain alternative breeds for the Frenchie into the spotlights like the Beagle, Miniature Schnauzer, certain Terriers and even Poodles, but a French Bulldog has no equal. It is a breed that fits for the testosterone types amongst us, as well as for the more female oriented of our society. They have a cute face, lots of expression and are easy to keep. Of course, short faced breeds can have health problems. Breeds that come closer are the pug and the Boston Terriers, but of course they risk the same problems or already have them. Anyway, the Kennel Club is not only concerned but they make efforts to follow up the breeders and owners with information and their Assured Breeder Scheme for the protection and welfare of the puppies and breeding bitches. Other concerns are the British and Irish vulnerable that they like to promote. On Friday there is the KC Vulnerable breeds finals. A very good initiative, although it would be better on Saturday or even on Sunday in order to reach a lot more spectators. A closer look on this list shows that an important part of those breeds are big, another are Terrier types and another part are Spaniels. But most of them are relatively easy to have in the house, don't need special treatment or trimming, they are only no longer "trendy". Imagine that there were only 28 Skye Terrier registrations and only 40 Otterhounds. Bringing them into the limelight will certain favor these breeds. Crufts gives a good impression on what is popular in Britain and certainly the Labrador Retriever still wears the crown with 555 entries, the French Bulldogs came not close yet. There were 282. The Whippet is also very popular with 386 entries, as is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with 369 dogs in the ring. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is still very popular with an entry of 311 in contrast with his cousin the King Charles that belongs to the vulnerable breeds with only 84 registrations last year. Unfortunately there is no complete list of the number of entries of all the breeds. This is the first edition of Crufts where the Cesky Terrier and the Spanish Water dog can compete of CC's, while the Jack Russell Terrier and Great Swiss Mountain Dog are shown for the first time. The Russian Toys are recognized by the Kennel Club for the first time and also for the first time we could see a Braque d'Auvergne in Discover Dogs. Worth mentioning is the Good Citizen Dog Scheme program that was established by the Kennel Club and was presented at Crufts 25 years ago for the very first time. The GCDS is without any doubt the most successful achievement of the Kennel Club and the UK's largest dog training programe.
160,000 Visitors were expected and Television makes all the difference in the world ,for the popularity of a dog show. Channel 4 an More4 were broadcasting 11,5 hours with highlights and a live program of the finals every day, alike in the good old days of BBC. On Thursday we had the Eukanuba World Challenge Opening Ceremony. It is the 10th edition of this Challenge. The first years the show was held in the States, Longbeach first and Orlando a couple of years later. It then moved to Amsterdam for the past two years and now it was a good opportunity to organize it along with the world's most famous show, Crufts. Only 33 selected dogs from 5 different countries are in competition for the final prize of 7500 EURO. They were judged by 3 judges for the semi-finals, Liz Cartledge from the UK, Carmen Navarro from Spain and Jean-Jacques Dupas from France while the grand final judge, to be chosen on Friday, was Mr.Laurent Pichard from Switzerland. There are lots of critique on this show due to the way dogs are selected and because it is linked to a world famous brand, leaving little or no chance to dogs fed on other food. Is it true or not, I leave it to the reader. I just wonder where our shows would end if tomorrow we have a Royal Canine World Challenge and a James Wellbeloved World Challenge, or any other brand World Challenge, etc, etc.? On Thursday we also had the judging of the Terrier Group and the Hound Group. In fact there are lots of competitions in the Arena during the day as in other halls. Agility and Flyball, Heelwork to Music and numerous other presentations, enough entertainment. The Eukanuba finals were on Friday as told as was the Vulnerable breeds Competition Finals. Groups on Friday were the Utility and the Toy. Only one Group for Saturday, the Gundog Group, but that leaves time for Agility, Heelwork to Music finals, and of course Junior Handling and the Kennel Club Breeders Competition. There is something I don't understand, the Junior Handling competition is perhaps the most international of all the competitions at Crufts with participants from 43 different countries but there is hardly information to be found, nothing in the Crufts Show Guide and one page with only the countries in the catalog of the day, no names or whatever. Junior Handling was first organized in England and is embraced by all the Kennel Clubs in the world. Strange...! Judge for this item was Mr.Vesa Lehtonen from Finland. The Kennel Club Breeders Competition is back and it is a popular item, always nice to see, 56 Teams were in competition , judged by Mrs.E.A. Macdonald.
Saturday and Sunday are always the busiest day and there was a general impression that it was already busy on Thursday and Friday too with regard to visitors. But it was also a general impression that there was less money spent compared to other years, at least hat's what I heard from some trade stand holders. In fact there was little or nothing new on the market and the big brands have less to give away. I am always astonished about the new food brands popping up every year. The Show Guide is thicker and heavier this year and has more publicity. I wonder why the price did not drop. The printing should be paid with the publicity and sold for a minimum price. It has so much valuable information inside for the visitors that it is so important that people buy it and take it home. The price now is 8£ and together with the entry fee (between 18£ and 21£, free under 12) and possible catalogs (that costs 8£ too) could be just too much for an average family budget. Walking around is not easy, Crufts takes more than 25 acres of the National Exhibitions Centre at Birmingham, and going from one end to another can take a while unless you know the shortcuts. The Arena is filling up as the Finals come closer. There is a lot on schedule, the Working and Pastoral Groups need to be judged first, and before that there is the Agility Championship finals and the Friends for life contest. The BIS program starts with the usual and obligatory show of Mary Ray, celebrating her 25 years of Heelwork to Music with a dance on "Singing in the Rain". While all other program items are included in the ticket price, the finals are to be paid extra and tickets are required). The West Midlands Police demonstration is also much appreciated and rather spectacular with real cars etc. But we were all getting really excited when the lights went out and the Royal Military Clarooners came up, the sign that soon we would know who will be crowned Crufts BIS winner 2017. Judge is Jeff Horswell who started with Great Danes but made Miniature Wire Haired Dachshunds his favorite breed. He started judging in 82 and gives CC's in breeds of all the 7 Groups. His winner was the Gundog Group winner, American Cocker Spaniel CH.Afterglow Miami Ink owned by Mr.J. & Mr.R. Lynn & Da Silva. His runner up is the Miniature Poodle Minarets Best Kept Secret owned by Mrs.M. Harwood. We know it now, both nice dogs, worthy winners and we also know that Crufts's magic will invade us again next year. If Crufts is the biggest show in absolute terms or not, is less important to me. For me Crufts is in many ways the best show in the world and certainly the most famous. Crufts is "THE" place to make connections worldwide, to see the friends from all over the globe. That power is so strong that most of us come back year after year. See you next year then!
Text and photos: KARL DONVIL
SH CH AFTERGLOW MIAMI INK
Spaniel (American Cocker)
Owner: MR J & MR R LYNN & DA SILVA
PHOTO NUMBER KD69061, 82736, 82737
CIE/NUCH/SEUCH/HRCH/ESTCH ALTAFLATS AIN'T I''M A DOG NV-14 NORDV-15 KBHV-15 [ATC AT01181SWE]
Retriever (Flat Coated)
Owner: MISS I WIESENER
PHOTO NUMBER KD69066,82681, 82685, 82890, 82894
SH CH ESMEE DRAGON FROM RHONA'S HOME AT BAREVE (IMP NLD)
German Wirehaired Pointer
Owner: MISS S PINKERTON
PHOTO NUMBER KD69082, 82344, 82520, 82871
SH CH LOURDACE FULCRUM JW
Owner: MESSRS D & D & MRS J ALCORN, CROWTHER & BADDELEY