Page 142 - ShowSight - April 2020
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                now developed a “Brachycephalic Obstruc- tive Airway Syndrome” health test and a new heart scheme for the problems in the Cavalier King Charles breed. Some pressure from outside can make a significant change! But it does not always need to come from outside. The Kennel Club has always been very concerned about vulnerable breeds and does a lot to promote them. Crufts is always a good occasion to do so. But noth- ing is better than help from the media and celebrities. Since Boris Johnson became prime minister, the popularity of the Jack Russell has increased significantly since he adopted Dilyn that came to live with him at 10 Downing Street. No need to tell which breed Johnson has. And without a doubt, the popularity of the Welsh Corgi Pembroke, once the Queen’s favorite breed, has seen the same increase thanks to the popularity of the series “The Crown”. The Labrador leads again after a short reign of the French Bulldog, and the Irish Red and White Setter’s position as the most vulner- able breed is alarmingly critical. New on the list is the Old English Sheepdog or Bob- tail, imagine! Almost every year the Kennel Club recognizes a new breed. This year it is the Barbet, an old French breed that is most probably the ancestor of the modern Poodle. The Barbet is a water dog, used for hunting ducks and seen on many old paint- ings and etchings.
There is so much to see and discover at Crufts, so many competitions in all the dif- ferent disciplines. No way to follow them all. I met a woman on the train who every year comes to Crufts all four days. It is her holiday and she still enjoys every minute. And she is certainly not alone. The arena can take 7,000 people. Friday and Satur- day it was almost full and on Sunday it was completely sold out. But during the day you can sit there from 5 PM till the very end around 8 PM. There is always something to do and see. But in the halls too, there is plenty of activity apart from the show itself. Popular are the various Obedience
disciplines, fly ball, police dog demonstra- tions, heelwork to music, International Junior Handling, etc. The list is very long! But probably the most popular are the dif- ferent national and international agility competitions. The most important of them are held in the arena just before the Group judging and the volume of the applause is sometimes going over the pain threshold. But there is nothing worse for the ears— and that excites the public—more than fly- ball. I just wonder how painful this must be for the sensitive hearing of dogs. Dur- ing the evening program, before the Group judging of the day, there are nice treats for the spectators with a round of agility to start with. On Saturday, we had the heelwork to music finalist. Belgium won this interna- tional competition. The act was so close to perfection and breathtaking, a rather simple act and song, nothing very spectacular, but so sincere and eye-pleasing that nobody doubted this placement. Also popular is the Scruffts finals for crossbreeds. I think its popularity has to do with the fact that peo- ple can more easily familiarize themselves with crossbreeds, contrary to the purebred dogs that look so glamorous and out of reach, like movie stars. On Sunday, when a ticket is required for a seat in the arena, there is always the famous “Friends for Life” competition for certain dogs that have meant or done something very special for someone. Friends for Life celebrates heart- warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have changed the lives of their masters through bravery, active support or just companionship. People can tele-vote for their favorites and that’s always a guarantee to success. One of the main acts is the police dog team presentation. This is a spectacular and impressive act and I am sure a lot of kids will start dreaming of a career with the police later. Things like this make Crufts for the English dog-loving people into their highlight of the year. But the attraction for Crufts goes much further across the British borders. A lot of people from abroad just
want to come over and see their breed. Oth- ers come for shopping and traders are look- ing for new things on the market. And for those who are regular visitors, it is a chance to see friends from all over the world who share the passion for dogs. Crufts is much more than just a dog show and that makes it unique in the world. And what I like so much, in particular, is that for everybody who participates, winning is the goal, but participating is, in the Olympic Spirit, more important than winning. Going home with a third or fourth place is already an achieve- ment. There are many people I know who qualified for Crufts and want to grab the chance to participate, whatever the result. Being qualified for Crufts is a win in itself. A quick look at the statistics is enough to see how difficult it is to win the breeds. The best scoring breeds in each Group are as follows: in the Working Group the Sibe- rian Husky had 184 entries, in the Pastoral Group it was the Border Collie with 303. In the Terrier Group, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with 341 entries was the most popu- lar, while in the Hound Group, the Whip- pet was in the lead with 388. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was still the most popular breed of the Toy Group with 286 specimens. For the Utility Group, it was the Bulldog with 235. By far the most popular breed at Crufts—but also in the UK, in general—was the Gundog Group leader, the Labrador Retriever with no less than 543 dogs in competition. And these are only the record holders, but this counts for many breeds and even the rare breeds offer enough competition to make a lower place worth participating. The highly unusual Basset Bleu de Gascogne and the Foxhound have drawn just four entries apiece.
On Friday, the Utility and Toy Group were on turn. In Utility, 2,862 dogs were entered. Here we have the Bulldog who takes the lead with 235 dogs entered. The French Bulldog is still very popular with 212 dogs, but the Tibetan Terrier came also close with 203 dogs. The Dalmatian was just >

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