The Dogue ring at Crufts. Photo by Denise Flaim.
Thu, 03/07/2024 - 11:04pm

Editorial: March 8, 2024

Keep calm and attend Crufts

As this editorial hits the streets, it’s the second day of the world’s largest dog show. Crufts truly is like no other. Sure, there are others that try to emulate this event, but you can’t surpass the size of the venue and how much of it is used for the four days, and the miles of walking through the five halls and arena to see all you want to see. When you get entries of 500 to 600 Labrador and Golden retrievers, judged in side-by-side rings, it’s a mind-blowing experience. It’s a three-ring circus in the best sense of the word. Since the quarantine was done away with years ago, dogs from around the world have done very well in the ring, giving their United Kingdom cousins a run for their money. So many different events going on at one time, and of course the very popular Discover Dogs, which is well supported by the breeders and the public. From antiques to automobiles, there isn't anything you want to buy that’s dog related that you won’t find here. We have been attending Crufts since 1987, minus a few events. While the move from London to Birmingham’s National Exposition Centre was unpopular with those who thought there would be no gate, the years have proved them wrong, as the crowds of the public jam the show daily. If you are lucky enough to get a room at the Hilton Metropole Hotel on the grounds of the NEC, it’s the club’s headquarters and where you hear all that’s going on firsthand. Not to mention you’ll be greeted by the Kennel Club’s answer to Little Miss Sunshine, Sue Sampson, who is without doubt the most pleasant, helpful and entertaining person one could hope to meet. She is a walking encyclopedia of information, whether it be dog related or a close-by pub that serves good food. It’s a brisk five-minute walk from the Metropole to the show venue. This year the show hosts more than 19,000 dogs as it slowly gets back to its pre-pandemic numbers. Show committee chairman Tom Mather is once again at the helm doing his usual great job of keeping everything running smoothly, assisted by a committee that includes vice chairman Nick Brooks-Ward, whose melodious voice fills the arena every evening during the special events, group and Best in Show judging. Only one American judge on the panel this year, Beth Sweigart, who will judge Norfolk and Norwich terriers. This our yearly reminder to make plans to attend this one-of-a-kind dog show that is like no other you have ever attended, run with the calm, swift, uncomplicated and humble efficiency that only the British can muster. 



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