(Written by Georgia Hatton)
Day 2 - Hound and Terrier
Friday is the turn of the Hounds and Terriers. From the tall, elegant Borzoi to the rough and ready Jack Russell Terrier, a huge variety of breeds will be present today.
Today also see’s the most varied of the agility competitions as it’s time for the ABC competitions! This is a special class, for dogs of any breed except for border collies and their crosses. Border Collies have dominated the sport, especially in the larger heights, since its inception and this class has been designed to showcase the more unusual breeds. But don’t be fooled, these handlers will take it just as seriously as the championships!
One of the competitors today is Altai, a 4 year old Saluki, and his owner Masha. Whilst Masha is no stranger to Crufts - her previous Afghan Hound was Best of Breed in 2009 - this is her first time competing in Agility! We spoke to them to find out more about Altai!
“Altai, full name Qazal Sarbaz Har Kala Rachi (AWS), is a smooth coated, 4 year old Saluki, born in Belgium, but now lives at home in the UK. Originally, I bought him as a show dog, and we started agility training for fun when he was 14 months old. He went to the first show a year later, went clear in his first class and I got totally hooked! He is now Grade 4 and the first Saluki in the UK to achieve an agility warrant. We qualified for the KC Starters Cup at Discover Dogs in 2019, where he won the agility round. He is the first Saluki to qualify for any agility final at Crufts - and his day will be busier than most dogs as he is also qualified to compete in the breed ring! Apart from agility he really enjoys lure coursing (he is a professional plastic bag chaser), was the British champion in 2019 and 2021, and has qualified for Team GB 3 years in a row. Training is a challenge because Altai feels he will melt in the wet and hides under A-frames and inside tunnels. We check the weather forecast before going to any shows, or training sessions and stay at home if it rains.
Occasionally Altai gets possessed by zoomies (running around in very excited circles!), usually in the first run of the day. I have been asked at shows where my ‘other good dog’ is – some people think that I own two Salukis that look the same – an Agiluki and an untrained Zoomiluki.”
Which Saluki mindset will Altai take into the main ring - focused, professional Agiluki or untrained Zoomiluki?
We wish Altai all the best of luck - and will speak to Masha afterwards to find out how they got on!
Continuing from Thursday, the Flyball quarter finals continue to take place, as well as the Heelwork to Music competition.
There is a display from the Good Citizen Dog Scheme - the UK’s largest pet dog training scheme to inspire owners to train with their own dogs and the vulnerable native breeds competition.
Vulnerable breeds are those that originate from the UK and have less than 300 puppies born a year, such as the Bloodhound, the old English Sheepdog, the Mastiff and the Cardigan Corgi. Sadly, many of these beloved types are at risk of extinction, as prospective owners look for smaller or more accessible breeds.
Two instantly recognisable breeds at risk of extinction - the Bloodhound and the Old English Sheepdog - the latter earning its fame in the 1960’s as the “Dulux Dog”
Rounding up the day is the best of breed competition for the hounds and terriers. We will be cheering on the whippets!
Both the first - the 1928 winner was a Greyhound called Primley Spectre - and the most recent - the 2020 winner was a Wire Haired Dachshund called Silvae Trademark (Maisie at home) - winners of the coveted Best In Show Trophy have come from the Hound group. In total 12 winners have been hounds, and an impressive 21 have been terriers!
Maisie - Best In Show winner 2020