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It's Crufts (www.crufts.org.uk) this week (Thursday, 9th - Sunday, 12th March at the NEC, Birmingham), billed by the Kennel Club as the as the world’s greatest dog show, but there is also a huge variety of activities and events on that celebrate dogs as our companions and all aspects of life with dogs. No wonder it’s the highlight of the year for dog lovers up and down the country!
We've attended Crufts with our show stand ever since 2011 but sadly the Charley Chau stand will not be at Crufts in 2023 as Jenny is undergoing chemotherapy. We hope to be back in 2024!
While we won't have our stand at Crufts this year, we are running a Crufts celebration here on our website which is going to be a Charley Chau first! So watch out later this week or, better still, sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear!
We've been attending Crufts for well-over a decade, either as competitors or with our show stand, or both, and here’s our guide to some of the star attractions at this unique event …
The roots of Crufts are of course in the championship dog show which dates back to 1891 when it was held at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, London with 2,437 entries and 36 breeds.
Pages from the catalogue from the second ever Crufts held in 1892, showing the Italian Greyhounds. Believe it or not, very little has changed about show catalogues since then but one important difference is that there are no longer prices next to every dog entered at the show as the majority of dog show exhibitors today are exhibiting their pets and for the love of their breeds, not breeding or showing for commercial gain.
Today Crufts is still one of, if not the most prestigious dog show in the world with exhibitors coming from not just the UK but all over the world. This year there are 19,026 pedigree dogs competing over four days for that illustrious 'Best in Show' title. Run over four days, the dog show is organised by the standard Kennel Club Group classification and this year the groups will be exhibited on the following days:
And, of course, the 'Best in Show' finale is judged on Sunday evening.
For our own breed, there are 82 Italian Greyhounds entered including our very own Brutus, and they will all be competing on Sunday (Toy day). If you want to find out how many dogs are entered for the different breeds, take a look at the Crufts entry summary.
Visitors to the show can wander through the five halls and watch all of the breeds being judged in the breed rings, with the 'Best of Breed' winner from each breed going through to their respective Group finals at the end of each day.
We’ll post later this week on the ins and outs of a championship show and explain how the dogs who make it to the Group Finals on Channel 4 each night actually got there so you’ll be a Crufts expert by the time you watch the coverage this year!
Discover Dogs is the best. The Kennel Club invites pedigree breed clubs from the UK to Discover Dogs each year so that visitors can literally meet every single pedigree dog breed recognised by the Kennel Club, and chat to experts in the breeds to find out more about the dogs!
Our very own Theo and Brutus will be on the Italian Greyhound Discover Dogs stand on Saturday afternoon from around 1pm, meeting and greeting the public and hopefully not monkeying too much!
It is a truly amazing experience to be able to learn so much about new breeds - for us it's one of the best bits of Crufts!
In 2016, the winner of Scruffts was Bella, a beautiful lurcher girl., with her owner Helen. They popped by out stand with Channel 4 earlier in the day before she went on to win top prize!
Representing cross-breed dogs, the other big dog show running at Crufts is Scruffts, the family crossbreed dog of the year competition. Throughout the year, crossbreed dogs have been competing at Scruffts heats up and down the country and the qualifying semi-finalists come together to compete in the semi-finals in the Main Arena on Saturday followed by the final on Saturday evening. In the final, winners will be chosen for:
And then one fabulous winner will be chosen as the Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year 2023!
While the main championship dog show and Scruffts usually grab most of the headlines, there are many other fiercely contested, world-class competitions being held at Crufts too and luckily, Channel 4 provide lots of coverage of those too.
If you’re at the NEC catch Agility, Flyball, Heelwork to Music, and the Gamekeepers Competition final in the main arena across all four days.
The dedicated Obedience arena in Hall 5 is the setting for the incredible Obedience competition as well as "Obreedience" (a fun, breed-specific team event) and Rally (think of it as an 'obedience exercise obstacle course' with iPads!).
And in Hall 3, the amazing and extensive Young Kennel Club competitions are held in the dedicated YKC ring.
In 2022, there was a wonderful display of the Her Late Majesty The Queen's Gundogs at Crufts. Very special.
Aside from the competitions, there are heaps of displays put on throughout the event. This year look out for displays by:
It really is a celebration of dogs from all walks of canine life!
Five halls of shopping across the NEC – most of it related to dogs in some way, shape or form. It’s really quite something! From bargain basement finds to best-in-class accessories – usually including Charley Chau beds! We’re not there this year but plan to be back next year.
In the meantime, watch out later this week for our special Crufts celebration which will be happening on our website! It’s a first for Charley Chau and we think our customers are going to love it!
Buy tickets in advance at the Crufts official website: Crufts ticket office >
The Kennel Club are livestreaming footage form the Main Arena all day, every day throughout the show via the Crufts YouTube channel >
Channel 4 & More4 have extended their Crufts coverage this year!