The very first Crufts dog show took place in 1891 and was organised by the great showman, Charles Cruft, who was the general manager of a dog biscuit manufacturer. That show was held at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington and attracted an entry of around 2000 dogs. The show continued to grow in popularity and by 1936 the Jubilee Show had 10,650 entries with the number of breeds reaching 80. Charles Cruft died in 1938, but his wife continued to run the show for another 4 years, until it became too much for her and she sold the show to the Kennel Club so that her late husband’s work could be continued. The KC hosted the event for the first time in 1948 and the venue was the Olympia in London. By 1979 the show had become too big for its venue and so was moved again to Earls Court in London, where it remained until its final move in 1991 to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The same year the event entered the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest dog show in the world with the number of dogs being shown that year reaching 22,973.
Crufts today is a lot more than just a dog show, it is a celebration of all the unique roles that dogs play in our human lives. Attractions at the show now include a focus on dogs that still perform key roles, such as the Gamekeeper classes and dogs that are utilised by the emergency services and rescue services. In addition the real human focus of dogs and their relationship with their owners is emphasised through features such as the ‘Friends for Life’ competition. The agility, flyable and heelwork to music competitions are also extremely popular with exhibitors and visitors alike. Visitors are also drawn in their thousands to see the Discover Dogs stands and a great opportunity for anyone considering getting their first Wolfhound to come along and chat to knowledgeable owners and breed club representatives. Finally, not forgetting the trade standards that offer hundreds of shopping opportunities.
Crufts 2016 should prove to be another amazing year for Irish Wolfhound owners and exhibitors. We are fortunate to have yet another breed specialist judging in 2016 in the form of Mrs Elizabeth Murray (Sabata), who is already known to many in her roles as as a CC awarding judge, an Irish Wolfhound breeder of longstanding and also in her role as Chairwoman of the Irish Wolfhound Society. Elizabeth will take to the ring on Sunday 13th March to judge what will no doubt prove to be a large entry, with hounds coming from both Europe and the UK.
Owners wishing to show their dogs at Crufts still have until 18th January to make an entry using the Fossedata website. Postal entries for the show closed on 4th January, so don’t leave it too late to enter and we will see you all there!