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Crufts 2024: A Revival

Crufts 2024 dog show ring.

Crufts 2024: A Revival

One of the first things that struck me at Crufts this year was the crowd—from the first day on. While Thursday and Friday are usually the calmer days, this year looked like it was like other years’ Saturdays. It continued like that till Sunday, and when I later checked it with The Kennel Club they agreed that there were a lot more people around. It felt like back to the pre-Corona time. Of course, what did not change was the set-up, and after 20 years of attending I could find most trade stands and rings with my eyes closed. It is since 1991 that the show moved from Olympia and Earls Court in London to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and that move offered a lot more opportunities to turn it into the biggest dog event in the world. There have been FCI World Dog Shows that have had more entries, but they cannot compete with Crufts when it comes to all aspects of the world of dogs. And Crufts often sets the standard in many ways.

Nineteen thousand one hundred thirty-two dogs were entered in the show, but apart from that there were, of course, a lot more dogs. With all the participating dogs for Scruffts (a cross-breed competition), Heelwork to Music, Agility, Obedience, Junior Handling, the numerous demonstration dogs, and the “breed representing dogs” populating the “Discover Dogs Village,” there were, according to the KC, around 24,000 dogs at this show. The Discover Dogs Village is well attended by the public and an excellent occasion for the clubs to introduce their breed and talk about advantages and disadvantages. That is very important, of course, as too many dogs end up in the hands of the wrong people. This is not a new initiative, but it is a very popular one. For newcomers, the KC has now a new initiative: “Have a Go Dog Showing.” During nine big shows in the country, newcomers can start to compete and show a dog in this new and special category. Winners of these nine shows were invited here to compete for Best in the Activities Stand, and yes, they all were now “finalists at Crufts,” although in their own new category. If this project will have a chance to grow, the future will tell. The idea of helping people to set their first steps in cynology is to be encouraged. If this idea is completely new it’s hard to tell, as the Eurodogshow in Belgium has had something similar for two years already.

Every year, Crufts has something new, loading up the schedule more and more and changing the items to see during the finals in the arena every evening. In fact, it is not only in the evening. You can easily spend the whole day in the arena and have seen only 25 percent of what Crufts has to offer. In other halls, they not only have the regular judging rings but also numerous demonstration rings and sports competitions in smaller arenas. Obedience, for example, is so popular here that you can follow the various competitions and fill a whole day watching them, and this, for every single day of the show. And all of this is in one hall where there is a special large ring for this. I am not particularly fond of Obedience. In its extreme form, like in these competitions, it looks very militaristic and unnatural, but, of course, it is the basis of many other disciplines like dog dancing. Other extremely popular and well-attended sports at Crufts are Agility and Flyball, where speed records and decibels go along. The screaming and yelling of the spectators reaches levels that often exceed the pain threshold when the dogs are reaching the finish line and it looks like they will set a new record. I often wonder how the dogs can stand it with their advantaged hearing. “Hoopers Display” is a new simplified version of Agility. Similar to Agility, there is a certain trail to follow, but contrary to Agility, there are no obstacles to take but running under a hooper, between sticks, or under a closed hooper; no jumping is required. Of course, this goes a lot faster, but speed is not important unless when competitions are organized. Because of its simplicity, no changes need to be made for small dogs or big ones and it is more open for disabled people who can also enjoy this new sport. It’s all a matter of having your dog under control and sending him through all the hoopers correctly. I expect it to become very popular in the future.

crufts 2024

One of the much-loved items at Crufts is the International Junior Handling competition. This year, 36 Junior Handlers were delegated to Birmingham by as many countries. The Judge was Mr. Ronny Doedeyns from the Netherlands. His winner was Zofia Raboy from Poland with a Siberian Husky. Second Place was Cecillia de Bella with a Spanish Water Dog, and Third Place went to Iceland, to Freya Gudmundsdottir who handled a Tibetan Spaniel. Another popular item is the Hero Dogs competition, formerly called “Friends for Life.” “Vesper” was crowned the winner of The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award. This four-year-old Belgian Malinois was unsuitable as a police dog, but started a career as a search and rescue dog with her owner and handler, Niamh, from Merseyside. Vesper was part of the rescue teams after the earthquakes in Morocco and Turkey in 2023. And another highly prized item in the main ring is the Midland Police display, showing some spectacular acts with their dogs, and in particular with their junior dogs who steal the hearts of the public. Back again in the arena this year was the winner of the Heelwork to Music competition. It is always amazing to see what one can achieve with a well-trained dog, and it shows even better to some nice music. This year’s winning team showed again how high the level is in this international competition.

Crufts is a real dog festival in all its aspects and you have to sacrifice certain things, as following everything is just impossible. It must be extremely difficult for the organizers to set up a schedule that allows you to taste a bit of everything. If you want to follow the judging of your preferred breed, and see the Junior Handling, and want to find out about Hoopers Display, plus some shopping, eat a bit, and see some displays in the arena, you will have a very busy day, ending in frustration from sacrificing some of your plans. And, if you are attending for the very first time, it will be even worse if you need to find out about things. A lot of people are probably regulars who come all four days; certainly the overseas visitors do. The NEC is easily accessible if you come by plane or by train or by car. The airport is around the corner, the train stops under the halls, and highways bring you fast to any of the extensive parking places around the halls. There are plenty of hotels nearby, but they are expensive, raising their prices during Crufts. That brings people more and more to look for cheaper accommodations in Birmingham or Coventry, both within 20 km of the NEC.

Since Crufts opened its gates to overseas entries, Crufts is high on the list all over the world; 3,766 dogs were entered from overseas. The Netherlands was leading with 382, Germany followed with 375 before France with 371 and Italy with 330. Visiting Crufts is not cheap, but you get a lot in return. Tickets are from 14 £ to 21 £. Except for Sunday, this includes entrance and finals in the arena. Only for the BIS on Sunday do you need to buy an extra ticket, and this is more expensive, but that did not stop many people from experiencing it live. All four days, the arena was close to full and the tickets for the finals were sold-out before the event started. But in case of bad luck, Channel 4 and More 4 offered more than 15 hours of coverage on television.

The turnover of an event like this must go into the millions, usually attracting around 130,000 visitors, and probably a lot more this year, spending money on tickets, parking, catalogs or the KC Show Guide, buying some food and drinks, plus the entry fee for over 19,000 dogs plus their handlers, plus around 500 trade stands, etc.! And to help to bring all this to a good end, there are over 5,000 volunteers. Crufts is a success story every year!

As in many countries, The Kennel Club has started to face the problems in the brachycephalic breeds by introducing health requirements. As we all know, this problem occurs in some of the most popular breeds like the Pug, Bulldog, and French Bulldog. Dogs need to be monitored before being accepted to the show. If we want to keep seeing these breeds at our shows in the future, we have to welcome any initiative that benefits their health.

The Kennel Club now recognizes 222 breeds. Forty-two Kooikerhondjes, 123 Jack Russells, and 91 Lagottos were awarded CCs from this year on and were well-represented. Otherwise, not much change in the rankings of the best-represented breeds. Leading, as usual, were the Golden Retrievers with 538 entries, followed very closely by the Labradors with 519, the Cocker Spaniels with 421 specimens, the Whippets with 395, and the Staffordshire Bull Terriers with 364. On the other side of the spectrum we find three Belgian Shepherds Laekenois, three [English] Foxhounds, and two Turkish Kangal dogs. The Kennel Club also monitors the Vulnerable Breeds. With just 281 Wire Fox Terrier puppies born, this once extremely popular breed is now “at watch.”

The first Group to open the show was Utility. Dalmatians are the most popular in this Group with 223 entries. The French Bulldog, still one of the most popular breeds for the moment, follows with 202 entries. All Poodle varieties belong to Utility and the Miniatures, Standards, and Toys combined totaled 358 altogether. “Elton” (CH Chelmbull Rocket Man WW), a French Bulldog from Birmingham, and co-owner Abbie Cund won the Utility Group. The second Group was the Toy Group. It was the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who were the most popular with 278 dogs, divided over two judges. The Pugs also had two judges, as 278 for only one judge was way too much to finish in one day. Chihuahuas are also very popular here, with 179 Long Coats and 135 Smooth Coats. “Raffa” (CH Fashion First High Priority), a Papillon from Sweden, and owner Asta Maria Gudbergsdottir won the Toy Group. With 4,654 dogs and 5,668 entries in the Gundog Group, it was enough to fill a whole Friday. Besides the Goldens and Labradors, the Flat-Coats were also well represented with 349 dogs, but not coming near to the [English] Cocker Spaniels with 421 dogs. Another impressive number was the Pointers, where 224 were competing. Winning one of these large Groups must be incredible and an extremely difficult task for the judges. “Hendricks” (SH CH Gunalt Hendricks), a Weimaraner from Biggar, South Lanarkshire, and his owner David Alcorn won the Gundog Group. Up to Saturday when the Siberian Huskies competed in the Working Group with 164 in total. The Great Danes and the Bernese Mountain Dogs both had 156 entries, but the Newfoundlands won in numbers with 176 dogs competing for Best of Breed. “Neville” (CH Corleone Navigator at Kalizmar), age three, co-owned by Lee Studholme and Kerry Rushby, was expected to return for the finals in the Resorts World Arena on Sunday. The Pastoral Group was the second Group of the day. The Border Collie was the winner here with 288 dogs divided over two rings, then the Shetland Sheepdog with 232, the Collie Rough with 215, and the Bearded Collie with 210. “Viking” (CH Brighttouch Drift The Line Through Dialynne), an Australian Shepherd from Solihull, Birmingham, and his co-owner Melanie Raymond won the Pastoral Group. On Sunday, we had the last two Groups, the Terrier and the Hound Groups. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier proved to be the most popular with 364 for two judges. Very popular in the UK seems to be the Border Terrier with no fewer than 244 dogs in competition, almost double the number of the Jack Russell which was awarded with CCs for the first time and counted 123 dogs. “Zen” (Original Master’s Voice Lovesong Monamour), a Jack Russell Terrier from Japan, age nine, co-owned by Hiroshi Tsuyuki and Kao Miichi, won the Terrier Group. The last Group in the show was the Hound Group. To this Group belong the Dachshunds. All varieties together you could find 780 of them in six rings, the Medium Shorthaired as the most popular with 199 dogs. Also very popular in the UK are the Whippets. They had to be divided over two judges as 395 is way too much for one judge. Two hundred fifty-one Rhodesian Ridgebacks and 184 Beagles were also two very well-represented breeds. CH Forget-Me-Not V Tum-Tum’s Vriendjes, aged six, co-owned by Anouk and Gwen Huikeshoven, the breeder, won this Group. They came from
the Netherlands.

Nineteen rare breeds were entered in the Any Variety Imported Breeds, good for 271 dogs. The Russian Toy and the White Swiss Shepherd had the highest scores with 56 and 36 specimens respectively. These 19 breeds are FCI-recognized and allowed to be shown, but are not (yet) recognized by the KC and cannot win CCs.

After a short disruption by animal rights activists, it was time for the Best In Show. No Royal trumpets this year to announce the start of it. The finals were no real surprise for me. It was impressive to see Viking, the Australian Shepherd, floating over the ring. Along with his handler, Melanie Raymond, it was a joy for the eye, and judge Ann Ingram from Ireland must have thought the same. And also our little Jack Russell Terrier, Zen, left a great impression, especially as the breed is granted CCs for the first time in the UK. The way both dogs posed patiently for long minutes before the press was proof of their quality.

Up for another year, and what will Crufts bring to us in 2025?!




Judge: Miss E. A. Ingram

Ch. Brighttouch Drift The Line Through Dialynne (Imp. Rus.)

Australian Shepherd

Mrs. M. Mr. J. & Mrs. K. Raymond, Shaw & Kirtley

crufts 2024



Multi. Ch. Original Master’s Voice Lovesong Monamour

Jack Russell Terrier

Ms. Kao Miichi

crufts 2024



Judge: Mrs. J. Miller

1. Sh. Ch. Gunalt Hendricks


Messrs. D. R. & G. A. Alcorn & Ingram

2. Sh. Ch. Riverbrue Morning Glory

Irish Setter

Mr. B. A. & Miss C. Crocker & Lewis

3. Fenpinque Vogue

Retriever (Golden)

Ms. Campion

4. Sh. Ch. Talintyre Winter Shadow

Irish Red and White Setter

Mrs. J. Tait

crufts 2024



Judge: Mr. E. Engh (Norway)

1. Ch. Forget-Me-Not V Tum-Tum’s Vriendjes

Basset Griffon Vendeen (Grand)

Mrs. A. N. Huikeshoven

2. Se/Dkk/No/Hr/Int. Ch. Naslediye Etera Atlas Holding The S Euw 22 Euw 23


Mrs. E. Prahl

3. Ch./It. Ch./Es. Ch. Sobers Geraldine Al Jch


Mrs. B. & Mr. P. Ahrens & Primavera

4. Bazinga Make Love Not War

Pharaoh Hound

Mr. S. T. & Mrs. L. & Mr. R. Hansen & Stark & Stark

crufts 2024



Judge: Mr. B. M. Croft

1. Ch. Brighttouch Drift The Line Through Dialynne (Imp. Rus.)

Australian Shepherd

Mrs. M., Mr. J. & Mrs. K. Raymond, Shaw & Kirtley

2. Be/Nl/Dk/Ch/Lu/De/Int. Ch. Qamar Du Grand Tendre

Great Pyrenees

Mr. Amj & Mr. J. C. Tijtgat & Akurassage

3. Multi. Ch. Reata’s Vector Space JW A18 Ww21

Old English Sheepdog

N. & S. Meijer

4. Multi. Ch. Aurorus Lunaris Ex Valhalos Sargas

Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)

Mrs. J. Xu

crufts 2024



Judge: Mr. H. Van Den Berg (Netherlands)

1. Multi. Ch. Original Master’s Voice Lovesong Monamour

Jack Russell Terrier

Ms. Kao Miichi

2. Multi. Ch./Nordic Ch. Smox His Majesty

Ww’23 Sew’23 Fiw’23

Irish Terrier

Mrs. E. G. Skålberg

3. Am. GCh. Kriscots He’s A Rebel at De La Pomme

Scottish Terrier

Ms. P., Mrs. V., Mrs. H., Ms. D., Miss R. Jaruthavee, Huber, Krisko, Cross & Cross

4. Ch. Perrisblu The Phantom

Welsh Terrier

Ms. C. Cole

crufts 2024



Judge: Dr. A. Schemel

1. Is. Ch. Fashion First High Priority


Mrs. A. M. Gudbergsdottir

2. Ch. Lireva’s Wildest Dreams


A. M. Cawthera-Purdy

3. Jp/Dk/Se/Fi/No. Ch. Bramver’s Millionaire

Chihuahua (Long Coat)

Mrs. Irene Peeker

4. Ch. Hawksflight Hot Pursuit JW

Miniature Pinscher

Ms. T., Miss J. Watkins & Bugden

crufts 2024



Judge: Mr. D. Killilea

1. Ch./Esp. Ch. Chelmbull Rocket Man Ww

French Bulldog

Miss A., Mr. D., Mr. A., Mrs. L. Cund & Harrop

2. Ch. Castafiore Riddhima

Tibetan Spaniel

Mr. A., Mr. L. Moran & Prouve

3. Ch./Am. Ch. Hallifax Hightide Hedonist At Afterglow (ai) (Imp. USA)

Poodle (Standard)

Mrs. M., Mr. J., Mr. T. Galloway, Lynn & Isherwood

4. Am. GChG Barnstorm One Chance Fancy By Dzine

Tibetan Terrier

Mrs. D., Mrs. P., Ms. L., Ms. M. Planche, Bernardo & Cook & Demers

crufts 2024



Judge: Mr. P. Harding

1. Ch. Corleone Navigator At Kalizmar (Imp. Can.)


Mr. L. & Miss K. Studholme & Rushby

2. Fr. Ch. Rongshai Du Domaine De Toundra

Tibetan Mastiff

Mrs. S. Haeffele

3. Srb. Ch. Reggae Man De La Baie De Pempoul


P. Le Rest

4. Ch. Chayo Vasilisa

Alaskan Malamute

Mrs. S. Ellis-Payne

crufts 2024