The Spectacle that is Crufts
Whether you love it or hate it, Crufts is undeniably the biggest dog show in the world and the greatest place for dog lovers to visit
Article by Alice Clark RVN Photograph by Tamara Bellis
Crufts is, undoubtedly, a controversial event when it comes to breeding, health and welfare. Each year, members of the public are able to gain a glimpse into this somewhat obscure world, which is not always well received. Even if you are not a fan of watching pedigree dogs being paraded around the green carpet, there are a huge variety of other fun activities, displays and disciplines, so you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy. The agility and flyball events are always high energy and incredibly fun to watch – though it might be worth taking earplugs as the barking (and screams of encouragement from the owners) can get a bit much!
In my opinion, there is no better place to shop for all things dog related, than at the biggest dog show in the world. With hundreds of stalls spanned over five massive halls, you can find just about anything you could possibly wish to purchase for your dogs. Top tip: do not attend with someone who is likely to discourage you from buying a fifth collar or seventh packet of dog treats… or do, depending on how much money you want (or don’t want) to spend.
When you finally find somewhere to rest your weary feet – which will be inevitable – you will have the chance to ogle at some incredible and questionable sights. Although, if you have watched the American mockumentary film “Best In Show”, you may be a little disappointed.
Without further ado, these are my top five Crufts observations:
The handlers’ outfit choices will probably distract you from the dogs. I have never thought about choosing outfits based on which colours compliment my dogs, yet these people clearly spend a lot of time deliberating it. Whilst sensible handlers dress in order to not attract attention away from their dog, others obviously aim to attract all of the attention – bright pink suit anyone? I’ve also learnt that dog showing involves a lot of bending down so if you chose to wear a skirt, length matters. Enough said. Handlers can also be seen wearing dog grooming equipment as fashion accessories. What better place to keep a brush? Unlike Afro combs and chopsticks, I’m not sure it will catch on…
Dog handlers are not chewing gum or eating all the time (like I guessed they were the first time I went to Crufts). As it turns out, they are holding pieces of food in their mouths, so they don’t have to put dog treats in pockets or have their hands full of them. This way they can bite off small tidbits and feed them straight to their dogs. What kind of dog says no to pre-chewed chicken?
People get very easily distracted by all of the sights and sounds, unfortunately not by the smells. Whilst tucking into my lunch I witnessed a lady dragging her little dog along, none the wiser as to the lovely little nuggets he was leaving on the famous green carpet. I then played some kind of surreal third-party poop roulette, as people managed to either dodge or step in the offending pile and still remained oblivious. Before you ask, by the time I could have run across the hall to warn anyone, all that remained was a subtle brown smear.
Everyone turns into a judge. Even amateur visitors will find themselves critiquing the dogs. When you have so many dogs of the same breed, lined up together, you can’t help picking your favourite out of the lineup.