As the nation prepares for the London Olympics, Birmingham will once again be the canine capital of the world next spring as another truly international spectacle returns to England’s second city. With medals and world records swapped for trophies and rosettes, Crufts 2012 will see dogs from across the globe competing at the Birmingham NEC from 8th – 11th March 2012.
Crufts celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2011 and saw over 1,200 overseas dogs taking part, with competitors representing more than 50 countries in a wide variety of competitions and events. In total around 28,000 dogs participated in the four day canine extravaganza, which was attended by 135,000 people, cementing Crufts’ reputation as the greatest dog show on earth.
First held in 1891, Crufts predates the modern Olympics by five years. Instead of ‘faster, higher, stronger’, judges will be looking for ‘fitter, healthier, happier’, with just one dog to be crowned with the ultimate title of Crufts Best in Show champion. The 2011 show witnessed a triumph for experience, with a 9½ Flatcoated Retriever called Jet getting his paws on the prestigious trophy and becoming the oldest ever winner of Crufts.
Like the Olympics, Crufts has grown enormously over its long and illustrious history. Now occupying five halls of the NEC, along with two Pavilions and the NEC Arena, the show occupies over 100,000m² or 25 acres of floor space, making it the second biggest show in the NEC calendar.
The show takes place over four days, building to a spectacular finale in the NEC Arena on the Sunday evening with the Best in Show Final. Just seven dogs, which will have won through ahead of thousands of others in their individual groups during the event, will go head to head and paw to paw for the trophy in a nail-biting climax to Crufts 2012.
Another highlight of the special Sunday evening programme of events is the announcement of the winner of the hugely popular and often tear-jerking Friends for Life competition. Over the course of the show, TV viewers will be asked to vote for which tale of canine companionship they would like to win this coveted title.
One of the most popular areas of Crufts throughout the duration of the show is the Discover Dogs area, where visitors can come and meet around 190 different breeds of dog and find out which breed would suit them and their lifestyle. There is also a dedicated section for breed rescue volunteers, who work to ensure that unwanted and abandoned dogs find a good home. Visitors can also learn about the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, which has over 7,500 members who put the health and happiness of their puppies, and ensure all necessary health checks are carried out on dogs used for breeding.
As well as a whole host of other canine competition, including agility, obedience, flyball and heelwork to music, the event highlights the diverse role that dogs play in society through a variety of displays and events. Crufts also offers an unparalleled opportunity for some serious retail therapy, with hundreds of trade stands offering a huge range of products for dogs and dog lovers alike.
Picture Caption: Crufts 2011 winner Jet
8th March – Toy and Utility Groups
9th March – Gundog Group
10th March – Working and Pastoral Groups
11th March – Terrier and Hound Groups plus Friends for Life and Best in Show
The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club is the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.
It runs the country’s largest registration database for both pedigree and crossbreed dogs and the Petlog database, which is the UK’s largest reunification service for microchipped animals. The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme is the only scheme in the UK that monitors and sets standards for breeders, in order to protect the welfare of puppies and breeding bitches. It also runs the UK’s largest dog training programme, the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme and licenses shows and clubs across a wide range of activities, which help dog owners to bond and enjoy life with their dogs. The Kennel Club runs the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, and the Discover Dogs event at Earls Court, London, which is a fun family day out that educates people about how to buy responsibly and care for their dog.
The Kennel Club invests the money that it makes from registrations and its Petlog identification database into its dog training and education programmes, welfare campaigns and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which supports dog welfare charities and research into dog diseases. The Kennel Club jointly runs health screening schemes with the British Veterinary Association, and through the Charitable Trust, funds the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust, which is at the forefront of pioneering research into dog health.