I went to Crufts for 2 days this year. I have been going for many years and decided 1 day just wasn’t enough so the last few years I have gone for 2 days and stayed overnight. Mum and I go and have an amazing time cheering on people we know in various dog sports and showing. Showing I have to say isn’t really ‘my thing’ so spend most of our time in the big arena watching agility, flyball, obedience, heelwork to music and all the other brilliant displays. I love understanding how much work and time and sometimes tears has been put in to achieve the level of skill that each dog and handler are displaying and to be able to do it whilst being watched by thousands is amazing. The relationships are wonderful to watch no matter what age.
Another reason I go is to shop! I like to speak to various stands to learn about new products, diets, treatments and to meet up with people from my membership organisations of APDT & PACT. We always go round Discover Dogs and find out information about breeds I don’t know much about. Speaking to people that own these dogs is the best way to learn the truth about them and know if they would be suitable. We also pick a breed that we would have – cannot be one you’ve had before – a fun game 😊
However, I am always torn as to whether I should support everything that this show stands for. I really struggle to see certain breeds of dogs that clearly struggle to function as a normal dog. Brachycephalic (short nosed dogs) that cannot breathe, German Shepherds which have such bad slopping backs that it impedes their movement, Labradors that are clearly overweight – this list goes on. All these dogs are in the show ring and therefore are a good ‘breed standard’. I see dogs that are showing lots of stress signals simply being in that environment. I also witness some horrible handling of the dogs. The worse was on Gundog day; 2 children, under school age, were pulling their Labrador around, on a slip lead, whilst the parents just stood and chatted to other competitors. When the girls screamed, it was only because the other child wanted their turn to hold the lead, the parent gave the second child the dog lead and she then proceeded to drag the dog around and around in circles. The dog had a tucked tail, was licking his lips, licked their faces and was showing every appeasing signal possible, and no one was listening or responding to him. It was so desperately sad to watch and know that this dog was such a lovely dog to tolerate this. As a country of dog lovers, it makes me so upset that we don’t learn to read and understand our dogs. It should be our responsibility to learn how dogs communicate and to listen and respond when they do talk to us.
After saying all that, I know I will more than likely attend next year. It’s a very tiring day as you walk miles around all the halls, but I do love it. I think you have more chance of making changes from the inside rather than just not engaging. Most of the organisations are wanting the best for the dogs and are working towards improving their breeds and focusing on welfare overall. So that I want to support.
So, what are your thoughts? Are you a yes or no to Crufts?