Crufts 2018 - What is Crufts dog show?

As we approach March, dog lovers everywhere are gearing up for a long weekend of doggy delights as Crufts kicks off for its 127th year. So today we're answering all your questions. What is Crufts dog show? Where is Crufts held? And how can you get in on the action? Find out everything about Crufts today.

What is Crufts?

Run by The Kennell Club, Crufts is an international event celebrating dogs of every size and shape. The main event is a competition between different breeds of dog, that culminates in the prestigious award 'Crufts Best in Show'. It is also a trade show for many dog-related goods and services, and the home of additional competitions in agility, obedience, flyball and heelwork to music. There's even a Discover Dogs area, where you can go along and meet 200 breeds of dog to help you choose between them if you're considering dog ownership yourself.

When and where is Crufts held?

Crufts 2018 will take place from the 8th-11th March, with the grand finale, the crowning of Crufts Best in Show, being announced on the Sunday evening. The event has taken place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham since 1991 when it outgrew all of its previous London venues.

A dog holding a ball

How does Crufts' main competition work?

Crufts is not the kind of competition anyone can just enter their dog into. Dogs can only qualify by getting a top spot at a Kennell Club licensed championship show. And that's not easy to do!

Over the course of the 4 days, the dogs have to take part in a number of rounds of competition. Dogs and bitches compete against each other in a suitable class, split by criteria like age and previous wins, and then the Best Dog and Best Bitch from each class compete for Best in Breed. The winner goes through to one of seven different Crufts categories:

  • - Working breeds
  • - Pastoral breeds
  • - Terriers
  • - Hounds
  • - Utility breeds
  • - Toy breeds
  • - Gundogs

And it is only the winners of these 7 Crufts categories that get to compete for the Keddall Memorial Trophy, named after Robert Keddall, show manager for 30 years, and awarded to the newly crowned Crufts Best in Show.

The winner in 2017 was Afterglow Miami Ink, the first American Cocker Spaniel to win the competition in its history. So, who will win Crufts Best in Show this year?

That's Crufts 2018, but where did it all begin?

Crufts was the brainchild of Charles Cruft, who made his name selling dog food, or Spratt's Meal Fibrine Dog Cake to be precise. He became involved in dog shows throughout the 1970s but had grand ambitions to run his own - the best there had ever been. He started with six terrier shows, held at the Royal Aquarium in Westminster.

He then set up his seventh show in 1891 - the first one open to all breeds. Held at the larger venue of the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, it is this show that The Kennel Club regard as the first proper Crufts all-breed show. Cruft managed the show personally until he died in 1938, handing over to Emma, his widow, for one year before she sold it to The Kennel Club. After a break for the war they came back with Crufts as their flagship show rather than The Kennel Club shows they had previously been running.

Since those early days Crufts has gone from strength to strength. In 1891 there were just 2437 entries, while in Crufts 2018 there are expected to be 22,000. Just as Charles Cruft had hoped, it has become the biggest and best dog show in the world.

How can you keep up with the Crufts 2018 action?

Crufts is streamed live on their official YouTube channel, allowing you to add comments and questions and interact with the official Crufts page. While summary TV coverage, hosted by Clare Balding, will be shown on Channel 4 and More 4 across the 4 days, as well as a pre-show on the Wednesday just before it begins.

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