I was at my first CRUFTS this weekend. I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs that were there.
Apparently a total of 22,000 dogs were registered for this year's CRUFTS eventhough there has been quite alot of controversy surrounding breeders and pedigree dogs in the UK recently.
And the activities in the NEC Arena were quite spectacular - as I got to witness first class dogs and handlers in a number of events - agility, freestyle & flyball etc.
I was quite bored at the actual dog showing rings - but the activities in the main arena, Youth Kennel Club and Obedience Rings were really quite interesting.
Though in fairness, there was no way that anyone can experience everything that they would like to at CRUFTS - just because the magnitude of the entire show was simply phenomenal. My favourite bits were all the agility and flyball stuff, and also the Friends for Life bit.
Also, I had intended to get some stuff for my Cleo & Co, but just couldn't. My brains simply malfunctioned cause there were so many exhibitors there that I didn't even know where to start.
I wish I had enough sense to take some decent pictures - but I didn't... Anyway, for those of you who have no idea what CRUFTS is, here's a bit of background and also a link to their official web-site.
History of Crufts
How it all started: the development of Crufts Dog Show
Crufts is named after its founder Charles Cruft. The young Charlesleaving college in 1876 had no desire to join the family jewellery business. Instead he took employment with James Spratt who had set up a new venture in Holborn, London selling "dog cakes".
Charles Cruft was ambitious and a relatively short apprenticeship asan office boy led to promotion to travelling salesman. This brought him into contact with large estates and sporting kennels.
His next career move with Spratts saw him travelling to Europe and here in 1878 Frenchdog breeders, perhaps seeing entrepreneurial talents in Cruft, invited him to organise the promotion of the canine section of the Paris Exhibition. He was still just two years out of college.
Back in England in 1886 he took up the management of the Allied Terrier Club Show at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster.
The first Crufts show in that name was booked into the RoyalAgricultural Hall, Islington in 1891. This was the first in a long series of shows there. During this era it was possible for individuals to run shows for personal profit, an aspect that appealed mightily to Charles Cruft, and he ran his shows with considerable profit tohimself.
Today there are no privately owned dog shows and permission to hold shows is granted by the Kennel Club which licenses only non-commercial organisations.
In 1938 Charles Cruft died and his widow ran the 1939 show. Three years later Mrs Cruft felt the responsibility for running the show too demanding and, in order to perpetuate the name of the show her husband had made world famous, she asked the Kennel Club to take it over and it was sold to them; 1948 was the first show under the Kennel Club auspices.
Held at Olympia, it proved an immediate success with both exhibitors and the public. Since then Crufts has increased in stature year by year.
In 1979 it was decided to change the venue from Olympia to Earls Court as the increasing entries had the show bursting at the seams. In 1982 the show ran for three days and in 1987 for four days to accommodate the increasing numbers of dogs and spectators.
1991 saw the Crufts Centenary Show being held at the BirminghamNational Exhibition Centre, this being the first time the show had moved from London.
2009 will be the nineteenth year that the show has been staged at the NEC.