2016 marks the 125th anniversary of Crufts; to mark the occasion we have compiled a series of retrospectives which consider different aspects of the show’s rich history. Today we are looking at sponsors.
The idea of product placement at sporting events may seem like a modern concept, but in fact Crufts may never have come into being without the association of one particular brand: Spratts dog biscuits. Before lending his name to the biggest dog show on earth, founder Charles Cruft worked for Spratts and travelled as a salesman to dog shows across the UK and internationally on a regular basis. It was his frequent attendance at such events – and his recognition that these were great opportunities to sell to and network with potential customers – which eventually lead him to put on the first all-breed “Cruft’s Greatest Dog Show” in Islington in 1891.
So, Spratts was the first ever official Crufts sponsor. Their Cod Liver Oil Dog Cakes are advertised on the back page of the 1891 catalogue; also featured are their Patent Dog Medicines, along with two dedicated canine journals. Though significantly thinner and printed in black and white, the content seems remarkably similar to today’s offerings, with canine products and publications both vying for the attention of Britain’s dog loving consumers.
Charles Cruft died of a heart attack in 1938. The catalogue from his final show featured more familiar advertising, from charity organisations such as the RSPCA and PDSA, and for various coat conditioners and cleaning products.
In 1948, the British Kennel Club took over the management of the show from Charles’ widow Emma. Their first catalogue features Spratts’ Dog Medicines alongside more modern dog food brand names such as Winalot and Chappie, as well as an advertisement for dog breeder’s insurance (available from stand 33).
From 1950 to 2008, Crufts was broadcast on BBC television. The advent of the wider audiences which TV promised meant that big names began to associate themselves with the show. Pedigree joined the pack in 1964 and the English Setter Silbury Soames of Madavale became the first dog ‘fed on Pedigree Chum’ to win Best in Show that year – since then dog food brands have taken ample advantage of celebri-dog endorsements. Pedigree remained a sponsor of Crufts for 44 years. Exhibitors with good memories reminisce fondly about their Best of Breed prize packs, and the distinctive red and yellow bags and towels can still be spotted in use on the breed benches to this day.
In 1974, Cruft’s was re-branded as Crufts (without the apostrophe); the first Crufts catalogue featured adverts for Rabbifa, an anti-rabies vaccine, and Good Boy Vitaminized Choc Drops. It is around this time that we started seeing corporate logos in the backgrounds of Best In Show photos; the 1983 winner’s picture is framed by a banner for pet gift company Birdbrook, for example. It was an exciting period of growth for the show: agility and flyball were added in 1978 and 1990; it was moved to Earls Court in 1979 due to an increasing number of entries (and visitors); and they extended its duration from 2 to 3 days in 1982 and then 3 to 4 days in 1987.
All these developments provided ample opportunity for companies to reach more customers, and to make more sales. In 1988, more than 110,000 people come through the doors. As a result, that year’s catalogue featured ads for some distinctly non-canine household names, such as Volvo and British Airways. Samsung, the Korean tech company, first sponsored the show in 1993, and remains a principle sponsor to this day; it is now almost impossible to take a photo in the Main Arena without their logo appearing somewhere in it!
Crufts moved the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for the centenary show in 1991. (An official history, by Frank Jackson, was commissioned by the Kennel Club and sold at the show; another example of commercialising on the event.) In the 25 years since that move, the sponsorship of Crufts has become big business, with the Kennel Club Marketing department reporting that they reached an audience of 149,500 dog loving customers in 2013.
Of course, the show suffered some PR trouble in 2008/2009, following the airing of the now-infamous documentary. This led to the withdrawal of support from numerous long-associated brands including Pedigree, the RSPCA and the BBC. From 2010 the show rallied, however, with the sofa brand DFS and the TV channel More4 taking over. For the past three years, Eukanuba has been the principal sponsor, as can be seen from the big pink banners in the Main Arena and the bags of dog food which they strategically place to be photographed on the winner’s podium.
Some may think that the modern show has become too commercialised, but Charles Cruft himself would have wanted it that way; historians say he was an expert at publicity, PR and using stories to encourage the media to promote his show. He even designed the still-used St Bernard logo himself. Thanks in part to the revenue from its sponsors, Crufts dog show was a commercial success, and so it continued. Without it’s advertisers, it may have gone the way of Mr Cruft’s ill-fated cat shows, which were cancelled after two years when they failed to make a profit. Charles recognised that he needed the support of the dog fancy, especially those who had something to sell, to make his show the biggest and best in the calendar; that’s why dog lovers can still visit and buy dog biscuits there 125 years later.
Almost 22,000 dogs will be heading to the NEC in Birmingham from 10th – 13th March to compete at Crufts 2016, the Kennel Club has announced. This marks an increase in entries for the 125th anniversary of the show.
The Kennel Club figures show that 21,919 dogs will be taking part in breed judging, Gamekeepers’ classes and the Obedience and Agility Championships. The 2016 figure exceeds the 2015 figure by 2 per cent and is the highest number of dogs competing at Crufts since 2010.
As ever, the event has a truly international flavour with 3,396 dogs competing from overseas compared with 2,987 in 2015, an increase of 14 per cent. Dogs from a total of 47 overseas countries will take part in the show, including, for the first time, Venezuela, Peru and the Philippines.
The number of breeds competing at Crufts continues to grow, adding to the diversity of the event, with the inclusion of two new breeds, the Lagotto Ramagnolo and the Cirneco Dell’Etna, which will have their own breed classes at Crufts for the first time. Both breeds will be judged by Mrs Carla Molinari from Portugal.
This year has seen an increase of 40 per cent or more in the entries for the following breeds compared with 2015: Pointer, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Samoyed and Basset Hound.
The highest entry in each group is as follows:
- Toy: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – 322
- Utility: Bulldog – 245
- Gundog: Retriever (Labrador) – 588
- Working: Boxer – 236
- Pastoral: Border Collie – 359
- Terrier: Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 410
- Hound: Whippet – 397
Gerald King, Crufts Chairman said: “We are delighted that entries to Crufts’ 125th anniversary show remain strong and steady. We feel honoured to welcome dogs from such a wide variety of breeds, representing all corners of the globe. The fact that people travel far and wide to enter this prestigious event is testament to the place it continues to hold in people’s hearts and we intend to keep going from strength to strength.
“We thank everybody who has entered the show and look forward to welcoming all the dogs and their owners who make Crufts such a wonderful event, whether it is those who have been loyally returning year after year or those who are experiencing the show for the first time.”
Tags: Crufts, Crufts 2016, KC Press Release
Full entry figures for all the groups can be found on the pages below:
British Vulnerable Native Breeds
Obedience entry was 19 bitches and 24 dogs
Breed Total 2566 Alaskan Malamute 157 Bernese Mountain Dog 221 Bouvier des Flandres 42 Boxer 236 Bullmastiff 133 Canadian Eskimo Dog 24 Dobermann 179 Dogue de Bordeaux 153 German Pinscher 29 Giant Schnauzer 79 Great Dane 160 Greenland Dog 6 Hovawart 51 Leonberger 162 Mastiff 66 Neapolitan Mastiff 31 Newfoundland 198 Portuguese Water Dog 47 Rottweiler 193 Russian Black Terrier 52 Siberian Husky 166 St Bernard 80 Tibetan Mastiff 61 AV Imported Register 40
Breed Total 3012 Akita 118 Boston Terrier 115 Bulldog 245 Canaan Dog 13 Chow Chow 109 Dalmatian 228 Eurasier 46 French Bulldog 219 German Spitz (Klein) 71 German Spitz (Mittel) 83 Japanese Akita Inu 30 Japanese Shiba Inu 120 Japanese Spitz 68 Keeshond 87 Kooikerhondje 27 Lhasa Apso 131 Miniature Schnauzer 151 Poodle (Miniature) 116 Poodle (Standard) 151 Poodle (Toy) 97 Schipperke 56 Schnauzer 68 Shar Pei 72 Shih Tzu 189 Tibetan Spaniel 147 Tibetan Terrier 235 AV Imported Register 20
Breed Total 2909 Affenpinscher 75 Australian Silky Terrier 13 Bichon Frise 134 Bolognese 68 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 322 Chihuahua (Long Coat) 251 Chihuahua (Smooth Coat) 178 Chinese Crested 204 Coton de Tulear 48 English Toy Terrier 58 Griffon Bruxellois 86 Havanese 77 Italian Greyhound 104 Japanese Chin 132 King Charles Spaniel 125 Lowchen 35 Maltese 59 Miniature Pinscher 100 Papillon 232 Pekingese 78 Pomeranian 154 Pug 269 Yorkshire Terrier 107
Breed Total 2307 Airedale Terrier 81 Australian Terrier 17 Bedlington Terrier 89 Border Terrier 239 Bull Terrier 67 Bull Terrier (Miniature) 85 Cairn Terrier 143 Cesky Terrier 35 Dandie Dinmont Terrier 59 Fox Terrier (Smooth) 66 Fox Terrier (Wire) 72 Glen of Imaal Terrier 42 Irish Terrier 56 Kerry Blue Terrier 51 Lakeland Terrier 45 Manchester Terrier 66 Norfolk Terrier 43 Norwich Terrier 51 Parson Russell Terrier 122 Scottish Terrier 94 Sealyham Terrier 33 Skye Terrier 56 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 100 Staffordshire Bull Terrier 410 Welsh Terrier 38 West Highland White Terrier 147
Breed Total 3058 Anatolian Shepherd Dog 7 Australian Cattle Dog 51 Australian Shepherd 139 Bearded Collie 299 Beauceron 24 Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael) 61 Belgian Shepherd Dog (Laekenois) 9 Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) 37 Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervueren) 77 Border Collie 359 Briard 94 Catalan Sheepdog 27 Collie (Rough) 271 Collie (Smooth) 58 Estrela Mountain Dog 35 Finnish Lapphund 100 German Shepherd Dog 121 Hungarian Puli 75 Komondor 13 Lancashire Heeler 86 Maremma Sheepdog 20 Norwegian Buhund 36 Old English Sheepdog 133 Polish Lowland Sheepdog 60 Pyrenean Mountain Dog 89 Pyrenean Sheepdog 30 Samoyed 168 Shetland Sheepdog 282 Swedish Vallhund 44 Turkish Kangal Dog 10 Welsh Corgi (Cardigan) 91 Welsh Corgi (Pembroke) 120 AV Imported Register 32
Breed Total 3038 Afghan Hound 232 Basenji 54 Basset Fauve de Bretagne 59 Basset Griffon Vendeen (Grand) 41 Basset Griffon Vendeen (Petit) 90 Basset Hound 137 Beagle 253 Bloodhound 25 Borzoi 123 Cirneco Dell'Etna 27 Dachshund (Min Long-Haired) 149 Dachshund (Min Smooth-Haired) 131 Dachshund (Min Wire-Haired) 123 Dachshund (Long-Haired) 86 Dachshund (Smooth-Haired) 92 Dachshund (Wire-Haired) 92 Deerhound 101 Finnish Spitz 18 Foxhound 9 Greyhound 78 Hamiltonstovare 18 Ibizan Hound 34 Irish Wolfhound 162 Norwegian Elkhound 57 Otterhound 32 Pharaoh Hound 33 Portuguese Podengo 46 Rhodesian Ridgeback 201 Saluki 105 Sloughi 7 Whippet 397 AV Imported Register 26
Breed Total 4933 Bracco Italiano 50 Brittany 28 English Setter 200 German Longhaired Pointer 22 German Shorthaired Pointer 85 German Wirehaired Pointer 31 Gordon Setter 192 Hungarian Vizsla 141 Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla 83 Irish Red And White Setter 78 Irish Setter 314 Italian Spinone 155 Lagotto Romagnolo 59 Large Munsterlander 88 Pointer 236 Retriever (Chesapeake Bay) 34 Retriever (Curly Coated) 76 Retriever (Flat Coated) 334 Retriever (Golden) 569 Retriever (Labrador) 588 Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling) 169 Spaniel (American Cocker) 114 Spaniel (Clumber) 70 Spaniel (Cocker) 403 Spaniel (English Springer) 166 Spaniel (Field) 54 Spaniel (Irish Water) 30 Spaniel (Sussex) 52 Spaniel (Welsh Springer) 203 Spanish Water Dog 67 Weimaraner 133 AV Imported Register 9
Breed 2016 2015 Totals: 2030 2034
Bloodhound 25 15 Bull Terrier (Miniature) 85 77 Collie (Smooth) 58 56 Dandie Dinmont Terrier 59 56 Deerhound 101 103 English Toy Terrier 58 64 Fox Terrier (Smooth) 66 73 Glen of Imaal Terrier 42 30 Gordon Setter 192 208 Irish Red & White Setter 78 86 Irish Wolfhound 162 149 Kerry Blue Terrier 51 64 King Charles Spaniel 125 108 Lakeland Terrier 45 41 Lancashire Heeler 86 89 Manchester Terrier 66 57 Mastiff 66 58 Norwich Terrier 51 40 Otterhound 32 32 Retriever (Curly Coated) 76 73 Sealyham Terrier 33 38 Skye Terrier 56 57 Spaniel (Clumber) 70 87 Spaniel (Field) 54 53 Spaniel (Irish Water) 30 36 Spaniel (Sussex) 52 57 Welsh Corgi (Cardigan) 91 83 Welsh Corgi (Pembroke) 120 144