Crufts celebrates its’ 128th anniversary this year with a four-day canine jamboree at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
Controversy is never far from the show’s door with some certain that the conditions which are applied to the Best in Show competition to be cruel. The Kennel Club, the show’s organisers, maintain their auspices show “all dogs have the opportunity to lead healthy, happy lives, with responsible owners”.
An estimated 27,000 dogs take part in the event which is 5,000 more than the 1991record recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, with 150-160,000 visitors expected to pass through the doors.
Only dogs which the Kennel Club invites are shown in Best in Show with the remaining days filled with trade fairs, exhibitions and shows organised by various organisations filling the timetable.
These include tests for certain skills and obedience, as well as a synchronised movement to music. Think synchronised swimming without the pool. And humans wearing nose clips.
Shows take place in the Obedience Ring, the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Ring, the YKC Ring, the Dog Activities Ring and the Breed Rings.
Channel 4 and More4 have no such issues with the event. They are broadcasting the show with the terrestrial channel offering two one-hour programmes from Thursday to Saturday inclusive. More4 has a catch-up show every day as well.
Last year’s Best in Show was marred when protestors from Peta (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) criticised the “suffering of dogs bred by humans to have grossly exaggerated features” which surprised Collooney Tartan Tease, the Whippet known more simply as Tease, which won the award.
The RSPCA holds similar concerns despite approving of the other events held in the four days. Animal Welfare Officer Lisa Hens – the best example of nominative determinism ever, surely? – admitted these were more drawn toward the flat-faced breeds – French Boxers, Pugs among them – which are largely seen as fashion accessories despite the widely publicised breathing problems they have.
Best in Show Odds
Despite the kerfuffle surrounding the show, punters have no issue with betting on the Best in Show. Ladbrokes is offering odds on the group to win the Best in Show as follows:
Interestingly, Betway offers 11/8 for a Gundog to win although Ladbrokes are more attractive for that and Terrier, which Betway has at 7/4.
But how does that stand up to history?
Most Successful Groups
Since the award was first announced in 1928, the most successful winning groups are as follows:
|N° of Wins||Groups|
In the past ten years, the number of wins by each group is as follows:
|N° of Wins||Groups|
Gundog and Terrier are the current fancied breeds winning three of the last four awards.
The last Pastoral win came in 2006 when Caitland Isle Take a Chance, an Australian Shepherd won. Jafrak Philippe Olivier, a Giant Schnauzer, was the last working dog to be Best in Breed in 2008.
However, 2003 was the last Toy success, making them the historical outsider. That was Yakee A Dangerous Liaison, a Pekingese who was also known as Danny.
Most Successful Breeds
|7||English Cocker Spaniel|
|4||Irish Setter, Standard Poodle, Welsh Terrier|
|3||English Setter, German Shepherd Dog, Greyhound, Labrador Retriever, West Highland White Terrier, Whippet, Wire Fox Terrier|
|2||Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Flat Coated Retriever, Kerry Blue Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Pointer, Scottish Terrier, Toy Poodle|
|1||American Cocker Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Basenji, Bearded Collie, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chow Chow, Clumber Spaniel, Dalmatian, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Hungarian Vizsla, Irish Wolfhound, Keeshond, Norfolk Terrier, Pekingese, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Sealyham Terrier, St. Bernard, Tibetan Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier|
Digging back in history, the same breed hasn’t won the award in consecutive shows since 1948 and 1950 – there was no Best in Show held in 1949 – when Tracey Witch of Ware, an English Cocker Spaniel, won. Curiously, her grandfather Luckystar of Ware won the previous two Best in Show titles, held before the outbreak of the Second World War.