Dog lovers the world over will rejoice in the return of Crufts this year, following the cancellation of the show in 2021 due to the pandemic.
This year’s event will welcome over 20,000 dogs, taking part in a wide variety of competitions and displays over the four days of the world’s most famous dog show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham on 10th – 13th March.
The show is also set to be another exciting event, with over 200 pedigree dog breeds in contention for the famous Best in Show trophy, which will be awarded live on Channel 4 on the evening of Sunday 13thMarch.
The number of breeds competing at Crufts continues to grow, adding to the diversity of the event, with the inclusion of a new breed – the Smooth Faced Pyrenean Sheepdog – which will compete in the Imported Breed Register classes at the show for the first time with an entry of two dogs. History will also be made when Hungarian Pumis compete in their own breed classes for the first time (31 entered) and Harriers (21) return to the Crufts breed ring after a gap of 124 years!
Leading the field with the largest individual breed entry is the great family favourite, the Golden Retriever, with an entry of 458 dogs. This is just ahead of the Labrador Retriever (456) which held the crown at the last Crufts, held in 2020.
In total, more than 16,000 dogs will be competing for just seven places in the show’s finale (including 1,843 dogs from overseas), representing each of the individual groups. The highest number of dogs in a single breed set to compete in each group is as follows:
- Working: Bernese Mountain Dog – 140
- Pastoral: Border Collie – 253
- Terrier: Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 306
- Hound: Whippet – 382
- Utility: Dalmatian – 202
- Toy: Pug – 223
- Gundog: Golden Retriever – 458
This year has seen an increase of 40 per cent or more in the entries for the Irish Water Spaniel, Sloughi, Lowchen (Little Lion Dog) and Canadian Eskimo Dog compared with 2020.
In contrast, the Turkish Kangal Dog and the Foxhound have drawn just one entry apiece, which highlights the fact that the show is a true celebration of all dogs, from the well-known to the highly unusual.
As well as the breed class judging which leads to Best in Show, visitors will be able to watch some of the world’s finest dogs and handlers in action across a range of disciplines including agility, obedience, heelwork to music and flyball.
The Obedience Championships for dogs are on Saturday, with bitches on Sunday. In Agility, the Small and Medium Championships are on the Thursday, with the Intermediate and Large Championships on the Sunday.
Other highlights of a busy programme taking place in the Resorts World Arena are the Kennel Club Dog Hero Award, formerly known as the Friends for Life competition, which celebrates those dogs in our lives that provide lifetime service, support, love and devotion, and the final of the nation’s favourite crossbreed competition, Scruffts.
Tom Mather, Crufts Chairman, said: “Crufts offers something for everyone and this year looks like being no exception. Visitors to the show will be able to see dogs and their handlers taking part in a variety of activities and displays and we would urge anyone looking to buy a puppy to visit the ever-popular Discover Dogs area where they will be able to meet the breeds up close.
“There is no getting away from the fact that the entry is lower this year, but we live in uncertain times and Crufts is just pleased that it is able to stage its world famous event once again. It must also be acknowledged that Crufts is the only show in this country for which dogs must qualify and there were fewer opportunities to achieve this in 2021, not just in the UK but also in the many other countries which under normal circumstances add significantly to the international flavour of this event.
“Of course, Crufts would not be Crufts without our exhibitors. We thank everybody who has entered the show and look forward to welcoming all the dogs and their owners, who make Crufts such a wonderful event, whether it is those who have been loyally returning year after year or those who are experiencing the show for the first time.”
A full list of entries in each breed can be found at crufts.org.uk/entries.
For daily and Best in Show tickets visit crufts.org.uk/tickets.