2nd April - Crufts 2012 Roundup
Crufts has become far more than its founder, Charles Cruft, could have imagined when he founded it, as it was a very different event back in 1891.
The world’s biggest dog show is a celebration of dogs and all they do for us. The division of dogs by classes into what they were originally bred for allows judging based on how they impact our lives, and not just which dog is the fanciest and has the best haircut. Crufts offers the opportunity to meet renowned breeders, charities, and experts to learn more about dogs and how to help them live their lives to the fullest. It also always attracts a wide array of sellers for the best in doggy accessory shopping.
Crufts 2012 saw several big changes in the event, and the big thing that everyone was talking about was the health checks for best in breed. All the best in breed dogs were required to pass a fitness and health inspection by an independent vet to be allowed to be named best in breed and continue on in the competition. This was to assuage complaints that Crufts was not doing enough to promote healthy dogs and breeding. The vet would specifically be looking at 4 problem areas: eyes, skin, breathing, and mobility issues. Many people assumed that even with the checks, it would be a rubber stamp and nothing would really change, however 6 best in breed dogs were disqualified due to health issues and were not able to continue to best in group. Crufts really showed its commitment to happy, healthy pups.
Of course, a lot of people are angry about the disqualifications. Some argue that testing should be done before the show, so there is no chance of an unhealthy dog showing at all. Others are angry that only the top 15 ‘high profile’ breeds were tested, and only those who won best in breed. Maybe it could have been handled better, but this seems to be the best way to encourage healthy breeding and safety for the dogs. In the end several breeds including a Bulldog, Pekingese, Mastiff, and Basset Hound were not allowed to continue and will have to try again next year. Sad for them and their owners, but hopefully it will bring attention to dogs' health issues.
Besides these disappointments, there was still an exciting show. Just over 21 thousand dogs competed for the Best in Show title over the 4 day event which ended on March 11th. A Lhasa Apso from Coventry took Best in Show after some very difficult judging, where some of the finalist breeds included a Borzoi, a Newfoundland, a Norwich Terrier, a Pomeranian and an English Sheepdog. Besides the main competitions, there were also team contests for breeders, displays, foundations, classes for owners, and more. Crufts now annually hosts an exciting flyball tournament, which was a great success this year with 8 teams from around the UK competing.
For a quick roundup of breed results, let's start with the working group. The 2nd best in show Newfoundland took best of group, with a beautiful Siberian Husky in 2nd place. In the utility group, the 1st best in show Lhasa Apso took best, with a very furry Keeshond taking 2nd. In the toy group, an adorable Pomeranian took 1st and an equally adorable Pug took 2nd.
Moving on into the terriers group, a Norwich terrier took best with a Kerry Blue a close second. In the pastoral group, a massive puffy blanket of an Old English sheepdog had 1st, with a very trim Breaded Collie (working dogs) in 2nd. With the hounds, a Borzoi was 1st and a Basset Griffon Vendeen 2nd. The final group was the gundog group, where an Irish Water Spaniel was top of the group, and a Labrador Retriever was close behind.
All the competitors were wonderful and it seems like they all had a great time. Hopefully, the disagreements about health issues can be ironed out, so they aren't the main topic of discussion next year and all the dogs can be as healthy as possible for this tough competition. Crufts 2012 really showed the best in dogs, so 2013 has a lot to live up to.
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