For as long as I can remember, I have watched Crufts each year on the TV. I’ve always been a dog lover and Crufts is the perfect opportunity to see lots of different breeds, as well as seeing dogs take part in sports like agility and flyball. I’ve loved watching it curled up on the sofa with my own dog, but this year I wanted to be there to experience it in person. With the happy coincidence that Mother’s Day was the same weekend, my mum and I booked to go as soon as tickets were released in October so that we could each tick another thing off our bucket lists.
We were there on the Friday and Saturday as we weren’t sure we’d have time to do everything on one day. Friday was booked so that we could see the Terrier class (we own a West Highland White Terrier) and Saturday was so that we still had time to look around all the stalls. Two days was good for my first time but if I go again I’ll probably just go for one now that I have a better idea of what to expect and what I’d want to see. If I return I’ll also be sure to make it a week day as the Saturday was far too busy, whereas Friday was still busy but it felt more manageable and we didn’t have to queue to get into the main arena.
When you first arrive it is pretty overwhelming as there is so much to see. There is pretty much everything under the sun that you could possibly want to buy for your dog, although the stalls do start to blend into one after a while. There are only so many dog treats and collars that you can look at in a day! We’d worked out a rough plan so we knew where to aim for first and I think this helped. If we’d just gone in and wandered around aimlessly we could have quite easily lost track of time and missed something that we wanted to see.
We started off heading to see some of the group judging of the Westies. It was lovely because they were all gorgeous dogs, but you can also see how serious an event it is for breeders as there were lots of people taking notes in their catalogues of who was winning each round.
My favourite section was the Discover Dogs section. It’s an excellent opportunity to see all the different breeds, have a stroke and get information. I was pleased that as well as the good traits of each dog, most stalls were also highlighting the more negative traits of each breed and any genetic defects to look out for. I’d recommend this area to anyone who is thinking of getting a dog – it certainly helped me to develop a shortlist!
The other thing I would strongly recommend is making time for the main arena. The agility was my other favourite part of Crufts – it was fantastic to watch as the dogs were really fast and it was very exciting. The flyball was also great to view. We also stayed to watch all of the judging for the Terrier group (once it got to the final stage) which seemed to be quite a lengthy process and the commentary wasn’t always the most inspiring. I don’t think I’d stay for this unless it was a group I particularly wanted to see but I’m glad that we saw one through in full.
There’s a great atmosphere in the main arena, but also throughout the whole show. It’s all very friendly and I felt a connection to other people there as we were all there as dog lovers. Would I go again? It’s not something I’d go to every year but I would very happily go again. After all, I need to introduce James to my shortlist of chosen breeds…