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Crufts Success!

Best in Show Ocra and Reserve Blondie - Photo Rob Tysall-Pro Photography

Crufts 2023, National Exhibition Centre. 9 - 12 March 2023

Review by Ann Evans.

After all the excitement of Crufts, the 24,000 dogs who descended on the NEC for the world’s largest dog show will probably be romping around at home now, chasing balls at the park, with owners really not minding if they get a little bit muddy.

If you're a dog lover, we hope you enjoy this little selection of some cute canines who took part in the show.

This Dalmation came with his own travel bag. Photo Rob Tysall - Pro Photography

Crufts, this year attracted around 130,000 visitors plus countless millions who watched the TV coverage around the world. Pedigree and crossbreed canines were put through their paces in breed competitions, displays and demonstrations as well as simply meeting the public in the Discover Dogs zone where over 200 different breeds were represented.

Eric, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, photo Rob Tysall Pro Photography

It wasn’t all about pedigree show dogs, however. Hundreds of crossbreeds have been entering local heats of Scruffts all around the country throughout the year, resulting in 23 dogs and their owners taking part in the semi-finals after qualifying in local heats. The overall winner of Scruffts 2023 was Assistance Dog, 23-month-old spaniel Delila and her owner Francesca Cairns from Sheerness in Kent.

The four-day show covered a host of activities and fun including flyball, agility, obedience and heelwork to music. The West Midlands Police staged exciting displays showing the dogs and officers in real life situations involving vehicles, armed police, mobs and escaping criminals – or rather, criminals brought down by these fearless dogs whose job it is to protect the public every day.

Shih tzus Prada and Dolce with proud owners Julie and Jaynee-Leigh. Photo Rob Tysall - Pro Photography

A special highlight was the Kennel Club Hero Dog Award (formerly Friends for Life competition) This award celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have changed the lives of their owners through bravery, support or companionship. The five dogs that reached the final were selected by a panel of Kennel Club judges and then their stories were open for public viewing. Retired police dog Stella. A Staffordshire Bull Terrier and handler PC Claire Todd of Gloucestershire Police received the most votes from the public to take the coveted Kennel Club Hero Dog title.

The Bolognese, Photo Rob Tysall - Pro Photography

Crufts isn’t entirely about dogs, there’s an awful lot of shopping going on – true enough, for canine related products. And with hundreds of stalls selling everything from cosy wraps to dry your dog after a walk in the rain to cushions, key rings and coasters printed with your favourite breed on.

Snug in his Ruff & Tumble drying coat. Photo Rob Tysall - Pro Photography

The highlight was of course the finale on the Sunday. It was lovely to see the Chelsea Pensioners in the audience, and we also had the pleasure of listening to the incredible singing of soprano Augusta Hebbert.

Finally, the seven finalists took to the main arena. These were the winners of the Gundog, Working, Pastoral, Terrier, Hound, Utility and Toy categories. There was great excitement as each dog strutted its stuff before the overall Best in Show was awarded to Orca the Lagotto Romagnolo (Gundog) the handler being Javier Gonzalez Mendikote and the owners being Sabina Zdunić Šinković and Ante Lučin. Reserve dog was Blondie the English Sheepdog (Pastoral).

With the 2023 Crufts over and done with, for many dogs and owners, it’s time to plan ahead for this year’s qualifying heats with dreams of Crufts 2024. Now where’s that dog brush?

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