(Written by Georgia Hatton)
Day 1 - Working and Pastoral
Today is all about the working and pastoral breeds, including our number 1 respondent on our customer dog survey, the border collie!
For the serious shoppers - Thursday tends to be the quietest - although it won’t feel like it when you are there!
Thursday also sees some of the highest class competitions in the main ring, with the small and medium agility championships and the British Open Agility finals. This is a great opportunity to see a wide variety of breeds in action - especially in the small and medium competition.
Fast, furious and loud, the flyball quarter finals take place to a full house - featuring some of the noisiest handlers in the country!
The first of the heelwork to music competitions takes place on Thursday - the freestyle competition is the “dog dancing” category - and you’ll be amazed by the seamless routines.
The East Anglian Staffordshire Bull Terrier display team, and The West Midlands Police Dogs both get their turn in the spotlight, before the day is rounded off with the group judging for the working and pastoral dogs.
1 representative from each of the 24 working breeds, and 33 pastoral breeds, will win the group and go through to Best in Show on Sunday
Just 5 winners have come from the pastoral group - most recently an Australian Shepherd in 2006 - and 4 from the working group - most recently a Giant Schnauzer in 2008.
The Young Kennel Club ring features competitions for young handlers (aged up to 24 years) all week and one of these competitors is 11 year old Elsie Bradley and her dog, 5 year old Daisy - the pomeranian cross Chihuahua. We spoke to Elsie to find out more about Daisy!
“We compete in agility and have reached Grade 3. I have been to Crufts every year since I started doing agility. Daisy and I have qualified once before, in 2020. It was so fun! This year we are competing in the Graduate and the ABC (Anything but Border Collie) Agility competitions in the young kennel club ring. Daisy is very clever and fast, and her favourite piece of equipment in the ring is the dog walk. We rehomed Daisy when she was about 18 months old and she is the only one of our dogs allowed on the furniture. Daisy’s funniest habit is every week when we watch The Apprentice, she starts barking when the candidates are brought back into the board room, but we can’t work out why!”
Over in the obedience ring is the obreedience competition. Teams of 4 dogs all of the same breed go head to head. The catch? In a sport dominated by border collies, only 1 team from each breed can take part! It shows off the range of breeds who can take part in obedience - and the winners of the 2020 competition were the Shetland Sheepdogs, with the diminutive papillons in a close second.
The Pet Treats Wholesale Team will have our stall in Hall 5 - and one of the team, Customer Service Officer Georgia, will even be in action with one of her dogs, over in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Training Ring, taking part in the Bronze Factor Challenge, with Albert, the four year old whippet cross bedlington terrier!
“I have competed at Crufts twice before with my oldest dog, but that was in agility - and this is going to be completely different! The good citizen dog scheme is the UK’s largest pet dog training programme. There are three different levels, and Albert has been selected to have a go at the bronze level test, live! We will be asked to demonstrate a variety of skills essential for family pets, including walking well on his lead, staying in place when asked, and standing still for a groom. Whilst Albert can do all of these things quite well in a normal environment, it’s completely unknown how he will respond with the lights, noise and crowds at Crufts!”
We wish Georgia and Albert lots of luck for the big day - and will find out afterwards how it all went!