We love our dogs in this country. In fact, Brits are known to be the biggest dog lovers in the world. Whether they’re a pampered pedigree or a scruffy mutt, we love ‘em all.
And I see that love all the time because I’ve got the best job in the world – I’m a dog photographer! I’m lucky enough to spend my days immortalising our four-legged friends and creating beautiful portraits for pet lovers’ homes around Cumbria and beyond.
March is a red-letter month in the canine world as that’s when the biggest dog show on our planet takes place – Crufts.
Here are 10 fascinating facts about the show which, this year, runs from 9 – 12 March at the NEC, Birmingham:
- Crufts founder, Charles Alfred Cruft, was a travelling dog biscuit salesman who worked for Spratt’s. He was invited to run his first dog show in 1878 in France and hosted shows in London for four years before his first Crufts show in 1891.
- The first official Crufts Show attracted 2,437 entries. It’s been held every year since (except 1918 to 1920 and 1940 to 1947 because of WW1 and WW2).
- There were rumours that Charles and his wife never owned a dog. However in his memoirs, he admitted to owning at least one St Bernard.
- Dogs must have qualified throughout the previous year by successfully competing (gaining a top-3 place in their class) at a Kennel Club licensed Championship show. Dogs can become qualified for life if they earn a Kennel Club Stud Book Number.
- Charles Cruft ran a cat show in 1894. Despite attracting more than 600 entries, it was reported that it was not profitable. Only one more was held the following year before it was cancelled in 1896.
- English Cocker Spaniels have won more ‘Best in Show’ than any other breed, followed by the Irish Setter, Poodle and Welsh Terrier which have won on four occasions each. One of the breeds to have never won is the beloved Boxer.
- Working sheepdogs became the first crossbreeds to compete in a class of their own, at the 1955 show.
- Crufts covers more than 25 acres of the NEC in Birmingham. Around 350 kilos of dog hair has to be cleared up after the show.
- The Jack Russell Terrier has only been allowed to compete in Crufts since last year! They were recognised by The Kennel Club as a pedigree breed in 2015.
- Almost 22,000 dogs will compete this year, including 3,396 dogs from 47 countries such as Venezuela, Peru and the Philippines.
Crufts contender or not, if you’re interested in having your dog photographed – either on its own or as part of a family portrait, get in touch and I’d be happy to talk to you about all the different options.