During the last European show in Hungary, we were discussing when the last Crufts happened. We were all very confused; some said it was in 2020, others were convinced that it was in 2019. Some counted how many were skipped while others counted in years. The last Crufts happened right after the outbreak of Corona and just before the national governments all over the world went into lockdown. We missed 2021, the year it would have been Cruft’s 130th Anniversary. Now, in March 2022, the UK government was one of the first to lift all Corona measurements. It promised to be a strange Crufts again—the “wake-up” of the dog show scene.
It was for sure that there would be a serious impact because of Brexit. However, less than two weeks before the show, Russia invaded Ukraine, and suddenly shocked the world once more. The Western World sided with democratically chosen and ruled Ukraine and immediately imposed sanctions on Russia. The FCI and the British Kennel Club imposed a ban on the Russian Kennel Federation and all of its activities. Russian judges are no longer allowed to judge abroad, Russian entries are refused, Russian journalists are refused, and more. This was not an easy decision, but like the Olympic Games or other events, it was not against the people of Russia but against the Russian regime. Unfortunately, it created a lot of hate among many Russians who did not understand all this, brainwashed as they were by their totalitarian regime. Bad luck again for Crufts.
For the diehards, it was a welcome reunion; hugging friends was allowed again and happy faces were all over, and soon it looked like it was only yesterday since we saw each other. That’s the strength that radiates from Crufts—world-wide-wiedersehen! On the other hand, it was clear what impact Brexit had on the show; not more than five trade stands were non-British! Many corners were empty and because the stands were not rearranged, the spaces where there used to be big foreign stands were clearly visible now, empty! As after many years, most of the trade stands used to have their own specific locations, I could easily tell who was not present. Due to Brexit, the administration to bring in goods and take back the leftovers was too complex, and here you have the result.
The very same was visible in the number of foreign exhibitors. The 2018 edition had 21,032 entries, the 2020 edition still had 19,909, but now there were only 16,924. The ban of Russian entries was hardly of any influence. In 2018 and 2019, the total number of Russian entries was below 300 dogs. Of course, there were still travel restrictions in many countries. And because there have been hardly any shows due to COVID it probably drastically affected the number of entries too. Most of all, in my opinion, a lot of people were still not sure that COVID could spoil things again. Britain was the first country to lift almost all COVID measurements, and probably a lot of foreigners were afarid that they had to reintroduce some again. In total, 1,843 dogs were entered from abroad compared to 3,171 for the last edition, and also the number of countries decreased from 43 to 38. Too soon to tell what exactly had the most impact and if Crufts will fully recover again. I suppose we will have a much more reliable view on that next year; at least if there will not be another world problem that comes lurking around the corner.
The Hungarian Pumis were able to win CCs this year, the Smooth Faced Pyrenéan Shepherd was accepted as a new breed, and since 1898, the Harriers are back again at Crufts. That’s what is new and brings us to 222 different breeds. Altogether, including the participants for the different sports activities, there were about 20,000 dogs gathered in the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The very same halls were occupied, good for 25 acres of Expo Halls, and about 5,000 collaborators and volunteers were there to help all this come to a good end—impressive numbers! One trend continues, Scrufts, which is winning every year in popularity. This competition is meant for mongrels and mixed breeds.
The various competitions are very popular in the UK. Flyball, very popular but extremely loud, was not on display in the arena on Sunday, although this used to be one of the items to bring the public in the right mood. Agility, probably the most popular dog sport, had to take over. I was particularly moved to see how often one could find the Ukrainian flag in different ways. More than one participant was wearing something in the colors blue and yellow; one was even completely dressed like that and another had a T-shirt with a yellow dove of peace over the Ukrainian map on a blue background. Solidarity with Ukraine was all over. Many stands made private collections; the BOB photo team made a collection, Birdbrook Rosettes made a big collection and an auction, and also sold ribbons and rosettes in the Ukrainian colors, all for the good cause. They even charged an official to do the counting of the collections. The British Kennel Club itself proudly donated 50,000 pounds out of the Kennel Club Charity Trust and had placed collection boxes all over the place. Everyone seemed to be involved in one way or another, the solidarity was overwhelming. Right before the finals on Sunday, an interview was displayed in the arena before 7,000 people and in Livestream with one of the volunteers who works in and for the dogs in shelters in Kyiv.
It makes me happy that every year more focus is put on the relationship between man and dog. We cannot deny that dog shows have much to do with man’s vanity and only to a lesser extent with the breed in itself. More than a decade ago, a shocking reportage on the BBC opened our eyes, and since then, we again understand more and more that soundness and health come before beauty. No other show better understood this message and became a real gamechanger since.
Let’s talk about high scores now. The top foreign countries are Italy with 265 entries, the Irish Republic with 244, followed by France with 202 entries, and Germany with 175. The winner of the Hound Group, a Greyhound called “Aya,” was from Germany. Hungary won the Pastoral Group with a Border Collie named “Lenor,” and Spain won the Toy Group with “Conan,” a Yorkshire Terrier.
On Thursday, we had the Working Group with 1,681 entries. Here, the Bernese Mountain Dogs had the highest entry with 140 specimens, followed by the Great Danes with 132. It was also the day for the Pastoral Group, good for 2,104 entries, and here the Border Collies had the top score with 253 entries, before the Bearded Collies with 205, and the Rough Collies with 158 entries.
The Terrier and the Hound Groups were on turn on Friday with 1,926 and 2,438 entries respectively. The Staffordshire Bull Terriers were dominant here with 306 entries, largely more than the 233 Border Terriers. It surprised me how popular this breed suddenly is. In the Hound Group, the Whippets were present with 382, then the Beagles with 188, and the Rhodesian Ridgebacks with 183. But if we take all the Dachshunds as one breed, then they beat everything with 510 entries.
Utility was on Friday with 2,228 individual dogs to judge, and the Toy Group was good for another 2,009 dogs. In the first Group, the Dalmatians were leading with 202 dogs, then the Bulldogs with 189, and the French Bulldogs with 178. The Poodles, all varieties together, had 311 dogs. The Chihuahuas, however, were with 283, Smooth and Long Coat together, the Pugs with 223, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with 194.
Sunday had only one Group, plus the big finals. It was Gundog Day! A total of 3,910 dogs had to be judged and this is not only the largest Group but it holds the two most popular breeds; the Golden Retrievers leading with 458 entries, followed closely by the Labrador Retrievers with 456 dogs in the rings. The Cocker Spaniel was also the fourth highest scoring breed with 321 entries, and the Flat Coated Retriever, delivering the Best in Show, was represented by 224 of them.
Notwithstanding the general drop in numbers for the show, these are still large numbers! I have no idea if the number of visitors dropped significantly, but overall, this Crufts gave a much more relaxed impression. In general, it was easy walking. It is hard to tell if this affected the traders for the better because you could take your time to have a closer look or ask for information. I did not discover any big novelties, at least nothing spectacular, and I missed shops with paintings, antique statues, and prints. Like everywhere, antiques are losing popularity. But maybe I overlooked it because, still, it is immense how many trade stands are here. Crufts is the place to be when it comes to presenting new things in the canine world and it is the biggest market in the world, with a huge turnover.
It is also clear that Crufts suffered from the COVID-pandemia, the Brexit, and now the war in Ukraine. Things have changed, and while at first it looked like nothing changed in those past two years, a lot did change! We lost people in our cynological world. We were hardly able to make new friends for two years, and still, there was a kind of familiarity all around. It was like a remake of a film where we could recognize scenes and decors from the old one but had to get used to new actors, new added scenes, and others left out. But we came to see it, to see how it changed, and to experience if it was still as good as we thought it was in the past. Will Crufts 2022 be the start of a new era, a wake-up?
Crufts 2022 Results
Best In Show
Judge: Mr. Stuart Plane
Int. Ch. Almanza Backseat Driver
Retriever (Flat Coated)
Ms. R. & Mr. P. Ulin & Oware
Reserve Best In Show
Ch. Afterglow Agent Orange
Mr. T., Mr. J., Mrs. S. & Mr. J. Isherwood, Lynn, Stone & Shaw
Judge: Mr. Robin Newhouse
1. Ch. Siberiadrift Keep The Love for Zimavolk
Miss J. Allen
2. Int. Ch. Black Star del Biagio
G. Biagiotti (Italy)
3. Ch. Lanfrese Argento
Mr. M. Griffiths
4. Ch. Cyberus Its All About Bertie for Womlu
Mr. S. & Mrs. T. Coulman-Hole
Judge: Mr. Jeff Horswell
1. Etched in Sand by The Lake
Miss Sólyom (Hungary)
2. Ch. Penliath Bill Me Later (ai)
Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)
Mrs. C. B. & Miss N. L. Blance
3. Ch. Ukkonen Av Vintervidda
Mr. C. L. Lauluten
4. Ch. Moonshadow Mud Bug (Imp Usa)
Miss H. Watts
Judge: Mr. Paul Eardley
1. Turith Adonis
Mr. J. & Mr. A. Averis & Barker
2. Northcote´s Isn´t That The Way
Mr. F. W. Schoeneberg
3. Ch. Rocabec Riding Shotgun
Mr. & Mrs. P. Cumming
4. Flanagan Limited Edition
Miss B. Bláhová
Judge: Mr. Gavin Robertson
1. Ch. Ina’s Fashion Desirable
Mrs. I. Koulermou
2. Creme Anglaise’s Irish Cream
Mr. J. W. & Mr. K. Akerboom &
Van Der Schaaf (Netherlands)
3. Ch. Vaskurs Moni Maker Qiwidotter,
Mr. T. & Mrs. S. Torres
4. Ch. Forget-Me-Not V Tum-Tum’s Vriendjes,
Basset Griffon Vendeen (Grand)
Mrs A.n. Huikeshoven (Netherlands)
Judge: Mr. Rodney Oldham
1. Ch. Afterglow Agent Orange
Mr T., Mr J., Mrs. S. & Mr. J. Isherwood, Lynn, Stone & Shaw
2. Elvis The Amazing Boy del Tassino to Loyjean (Imp Che)
Mr. W. Mcnaught
3. Ch. Ellemstra Against All Odds
Mrs. E. J. & Mr. C. N. Emmett & Simons
4. Ch. Minarets Best Kept Secret
Miss M. Harwood
Judge: Mr. Bert Easdon
Ch. Royal Precious Jp’s F4 Conan
2. Ch. Tiny Fellow`s U Got The Look
Miss C. & Mr. T. Kristoffersen & Losen
3. Leogem Winter Melody
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Mr. D. & Mrs. T. Homes
4. Ch. Limartine Mr Blue
Mrs. A. Mault
Judge: Mr Sigurd Wilberg
1. Int. Ch. Almanza Backseat Driver
Retriever (Flat Coated)
Ms. R. & Mr. P. Ulin & Oware
2. Gwendariff Come Fly with Me
Mrs. D. Stewart- Ritchie
3. Ch. Layways Van Winkle
Miss E. J. Miles
4. Ch. Coedcernyw Calendar Girl
Mr. I. & Mrs. S. Hillier
Crufts 2022 – The ‘Wake-Up’
Article, photos, and results: Karl DONVIL