Thursday, 7 March 2013

Crufts allows crossbreeds to compete for the first time in Scruffts. Breeding defects. Vulnerable Native Breeds. Breeds at risk.

Arrivals on the opening day at Crufts, 7-10 March, NEC, Birmingham

For the first time this year Crufts is allowing mongrels or cross-breeds to participate in Scruffts, their own event.  Cross-breeds (as they are now Politically Correctly called), generally lack the exaggerated physical features or inherited diseases suffered by their pedigree peers, and it is high time they appeared. Look out for labradoodles, cockapoos, peekapoos, schnoodles, dorgis, pomshis, puggles and labradingers to name just a few of the crossbreeds which may be in the Scruffts event.
Grooming an Afghan
Watching Crufts is fascinating: it shows the interaction between owners or handlers with their dogs; quite often they look alike.  Intricate, incredible grooming, placement and adjustment of dogs is incessant: the clothes of their handlers are all part of the spectacle.  Judges too have their own routines and ways of building suspense.
A Scotsman? in a kilt with an Irish Wolfhound
Apart from the individual and Best in Breed events, the public enjoy watching dogs do Agility obstacle courses; Flyball, where teams of dogs jump hurdles carrying tennis balls; Friends for Life, which awards dedicated dogs for their work with people: as companions to the blind, sick, disabled, sniffer dogs, rescue dogs, pets as therapy for children etc.; seeing dogs and handlers dance four minute routines in Heelwork to Music and Freestyle is sometimes hilarious and also popular.

In 2009 a BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed warned that breeding pedigree dogs often caused canine deformities and disease, and stopped televising Crufts. (More 4 with Clare Balding and Channel 4 have taken over).  The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, took heed and launched Breeding for the Future.  Together with the British Veterinary Association it now assist breeders before mating their dogs with other dogs to avoid inherited eye diseases, hip and elbow dysplasia.  Standards for 78 breeds were revised and inbreeding is banned.  

The Kennel Club also identified endangered Vulnerable Native Breeds: Deerhounds, Greyhounds, Otterhounds, Irish Red & White Setters, Clumber Spaniels, Field Spaniels, Irish Water Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels, Miniature Bull Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers, Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Norwich Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Skye Terriers, Welsh Terriers, Smooth Collies, Lancashire Heelers, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, English Toy Terriers (Black & Tan). 

At Crufts, veterinary checks are made for Best-of-Breed winners and champions in 15 "at-risk" breeds, and judges are authorised to dismiss any dogs that do not come up to standard. The "at-risk" breeds are the basset hound, bloodhound, bulldog, Chinese crested dog, chow chow, Clumber spaniel, dogue de Bordeaux, French bulldog, German shepherd dog, mastiff, Neapolitan mastiff, Pekinese, pug, Shar-Pei and St Bernard. “All suffer to a greater or lesser extent from short legs, long backs, flat faces, small or droopy eyes, too much angulation, too much wrinkling..” 

Charles Cruft, 1852 – 1938, was a travelling salesman in dog-biscuits and started the first dog-show.  Crufts is at the NEC Arena, Birmingham from March 7-10, and is the world’s largest dog show according to the Guinness Record book: as many  as 20,566 dogs have been entered in 2013.
Basset Hound

Bloodhound Abby, 4 months

Chinese Crested

Chow Chow

Clumber Spaniel
Dogue de Bordeaux
French Bulldog
 German Shepherd
Neapolitan Mastiff 



Shar Pei 

St Bernard