Dogs in the News Fetching you all the latest canine headlines
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    March 11th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014

    Dog lovers flocked to the NEC in their hundreds of thousands last week as Crufts celebrated joint biggest year, with almost 160,000 people coming to celebrate the British love affair with dogs.

    In total 159,536 people visited the show over the course of the four day event, whose principal sponsor is Eukanuba, closely matching the record breaking 2008 attendance figure. The gate was up seven percent on last year.

    Celebrities who dropped in to coo at the Cocker Spaniels and fawn over the Foxhounds included Homeland actor Damian Lewis; Harry Potter actress Elizabeth McCrory; TV presenter Ulrika Johnson; singer, actor and TV presenter John Barrowman; TV presenter and actress Amanda Holden, Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford MBE and Downtown Abbey star Lesley Nicol.

    A record number of people tuned in the watch the coverage across Channel 4 and More4 with a total of 4.6 million tuning in, compared to 1.8 million last year. Viewing figures peaked at 1.8million on Sunday night alone, as people watched Standard Poodle, Ricky be crowned as Best in Show and Cocker Spaniel, Molly be crowned as the UK’s top dog hero in the Friends for Life competition.

    This was despite the fact that Thursday night stand-in Liza Tarbuck drew criticism for her apparent lack of knowledge and reliance on her tablet.

    Additionally, 75,400 hours of watch-time was clocked up on the Crufts Youtube channel, with more than 48,000 watching the live internet stream. The Crufts Facebook page was hugely popular, delivering pictures, videos, news and comment throughout the show and now has over 133,000 likes, 366,000 fans and with almost 14 million views of Kennel Club social media posts throughout the event.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Crufts celebrates the British love affair with dogs in a unique and special way and we are so pleased that people continue to get so much pleasure from the event. The show reflects the extraordinary and special relationships that people have with their dogs.

    “Year on year people visit Crufts to watch exciting dog sports and competitions from agility, showing, flyball and  heelwork to music to dog hero competition Friends for Life and crossbreed competition Scruffts, but it also helps potential dog owners to make responsible decisions about buying a puppy or rescue dog. The event was packed with information about which breeds suits which lifestyles in the Discover Dogs area; how to ensure that you get a healthy puppy from a responsible breeder or rescue home and what is being done generally to improve dog health, in the Breeding for the Future area and how to be a responsible dog owner in areas such as the Good Citizen Dog Training ring.

    “We would like to thank everybody who entered their dogs into Crufts or took part in one of the many activities at the show, many of whom had travelled miles and crossed seas to be there, and every member of the visiting and viewing public who supported the event due to their love of dogs.

    “We could not have put on such a marvelous show without our fantastic sponsors and without Channel 4 and More4, who as always, did a superb job of showing the nation all that Crufts is about. The television coverage reflected the excitement and diversity of the various Crufts competitions and was a platform for the discussion of interesting and important issues about buying the right puppy, dog health and how to be a responsible dog owner.”

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    March 7th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014

    A dog rescued by soldiers in Afghanistan is one of six special crossbreed dogs which are heading to the world’s greatest dog event next week.

    Wylie, who had his ears cut off and had also been stabbed and run over before he was rescued, will be competing against five other dogs which have beaten hundreds of competitors from around the country to make it to the Scruffts grand finale, taking place at Crufts at the NEC, Birmingham on Friday 7 th March.

    Kerrang! Radio DJ and former Big Brother winner, Kate Lawler will choose the winner in the Main Arena at the show. Kate, whose afternoon show on the station draws over a million listeners each week, will be judging the six finalists on qualities like good character, health and temperament with people and other dogs.

    The Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year competition is run by the Kennel Club, which organises Crufts, and caters exclusively for crossbreed dogs: dogs whose parents are of two different breeds, or a mixture of several breeds.

    The six finalists qualified for a place in the Scruffts final after winning classes at heats around the country during 2013 and then winning at the semi-finals, which took place at the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event last November.

    The six finalists for the 2014 final are as follows:

    · Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog (6 months – 7 years)

    Bailey, owned by Nigel McManus from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute. Bailey was adopted from an SSPCA Shelter after he was found wandering the streets of Glasgow, but Nigel says he is now “a real star” who does obedience classes and agility training, and really loves long walks in the hills.

    · Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch (6 months – 7 years)

    Sylvy, owned by Danni Holder from Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham. Sylvy was born at Dogs Trust and had kennel cough from when she was only a few days old, before developing parvo along with her seven brothers and sisters – sadly only three survived. Since then Sylvy has gone on to be qualified as a Pets at Therapy dog and Danni describes her as a “very friendly” dog and “wants to be best friends with everyone”.

    · Child’s Best Friend – handled by a young person between 6 and 16 years of age inclusively (6 months – 12 years)

    Lola, owned by fifteen year old Amy Graham from Randalstown, Co Antrim. Lola was found wandering the streets eating out of bins in January last year. Amy says “We all fell in love with her little face immediately. She is an amazing dog, she wakes me up for school by jumping on my bed. If I am ever sick or upset she comes up to me and looks after me.”

    · Golden Oldie Crossbreed (8 years or over)

    Willow, owned by Sheli Brown from Crewe, Cheshire. Willow works as a therapy dog, spending time with young people and children. She is the oldest dog competing and loves balls and sticks. Proud owner Sheli says she is “absolutely thrilled” to be competing in the final.

    · Best Crossbreed Rescue

    Wylie, owned by Sarah Singleton from Yeovil, Somerset. Wylie was forced into a dog fight and was near death before he was rescued by soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, back in 2011. They took him to an army base where he was treated for some horrific injuries. His ears were cut off (a long standing tradition for Afghan dogs used for fighting), and he was stabbed and run over by a car. Despite all of this he has recovered and is described by Sarah as a “gentle, trusting and loving dog”.

    · Good Citizen Dog Scheme Crossbreed (for entrants that have a GCDS certificate at any level)

    Barney, owned by Mike Murray from Kenley, Greater London. Barney was rescued from a pet shop where he was kept in appalling conditions but is now described by Mike as “a fantastic member of our family” and “a very loving dog” who enjoys nothing more than a walk in the woods.

    Throughout last year, heats of the popular Scruffts contest, which is supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved, took place at events around the country in search of crossbreeds with that extra special something. Nearly 1,200 dogs took part in the Scruffts heats last year, raising over £6,000 for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and each event’s chosen charity. All competitors received James Wellbeloved treats and a copy of Your Dog magazine, the Scruffts media partner.

    Apart from the sought-after title, the winner at this year’s Scruffts will win a year’s supply of healthy hypo-allergenic dog food from James Wellbeloved.

    James Wellbeloved marketing manager, Anne-Laure Jaouën said: “The Scruffts final is the highlight of my year. All of last year’s finalists were brilliant and I can’t wait to meet the finalists for this year. It’s amazing to hear the incredible stories that these crossbreeds have and I wish them all the very best of luck.”

    Scruffts is run in support of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which has awarded over £8m worth of grants to benefit the canine world since its inception in 1987. The Trust awards grants to welfare organisations which make a difference to dogs’ lives, and also provides financial support to canine scientific research and support charities.

    To find out more about Scruffts, please visit

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    March 4th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    Today we have another Flyball competitor in our midst; meet Carla and Troos, a Border Collie.

    Carla has been to Crufts before but this is Troos’ first time; she is looking forward to sharing this experience with him, but is dreading being knocked out in the first round. Troos means ‘solace’, but hopefully Carla won’t need any. They compete with The Marnicks, as does her husband, so she’ll have plenty of moral support.

    Carla has been doing flyball for six years and works as a childminder. She currently juggles six dogs, and two children. Perhaps understandably, she wasn’t initially keen on adding another puppy into that mix: “My husband went to look at the litter, with the mind to buying one of the brothers. I had no intention of having one, but I saw the litter once and only looked at Troos and fell in love.”  Her husband also got his puppy, and so Lycan and Troos could have been double trouble, but thankfully Troos turned out to be a “confident but calm puppy”.

    As well as flyball, both Troos and Lycan partake in swimming at their local K9 Fitness Hydortherapy Centre. “They have been accommodating to help improve the fitness of our already active dogs.” Otherwise, they love having fun on the beach or out in the nearby fields.

    “Troos is the one who wants my instructions. He loves working and aims to please. He never tires of entertaining the kids and is so gentle.”

    Troos (kennel name Shining Light of Solace) is a litter mate to another Show Tails canine, Acer (and therefore also to, Neon, Logan, and Blitz, as well as Lycan) and we are informed that they will all be celebrating their 3rd birthdays together at Crufts. Their parents were both Crufts competitors as well.  Troos and Carla are competing in the Main Arena on Friday afternoon.  Please join us in wishing them the best of luck.

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    February 18th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014

    The annual Crufts Friends for Life competition, run by the Kennel Club, celebrates uplifting stories of friendship in adversity and the five dogs which have made the 2014 shortlist were selected for their exceptional loyalty to their owners and for the way that they have changed their lives.

    Voting lines are now open and the dog that goes on to receive the most public votes will win the competition, which will be announced at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of Crufts, Sunday 9th March.

    The finalists for 2014 are:

    Cocker Spaniel, Molls and eleven year old Steven Courtney from Bicester, Oxfordshire
    0844 646 0201 - Watch their video HERE

    Steven and Molls

    Medical Detection dog, Molls, saves her eleven year old owner Steven’s life, with her ability to detect when his blood sugar levels fall or rise to life threateing levels.  Steven was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was three and everyone in his household was constantly on high alert until Molls came along three years ago. As part of the alert, Molls has been trained to fetch the glucose testing kit; she has even alerted from the sidelines when Steven was playing football preventing an episode and allowing Steven to enjoy the sport he loves.

    Serena Courtney, Steven’s mum, said: “Having Molls has changed our lives as a family. Steven is so much calmer and more relaxed and the bond that they share is incredible. We feel so much better knowing that she is around to look out for her best friend.”

    Cocker Spaniel, Molly and Lucy Watts from Benfleet, Essex
    0844 646 0202 - Watch their video HERE

    Lucy and Molly Feeling isolated and alone as a result of her chronic and life limiting illness, 20 year old Lucy was giving up on life before Molly

    entered it. Living with ehlers-danlos syndrome, Lucy is in pain, fed through her bloodstream and wheelchair bound and was in a dark place before Molly came along. Molly gave Lucy the assurance and independence that she needed.

    Since Molly has been in her life she has gained independence and confidence. Instead of everything being about her condition when she met new people, the conversation would instead turn to Molly and Lucy’s confidence grew. Instead of being shy and withdrawn she will now take Molly to agility training and she has even spoken in parliament. And when she has can’t get out of bed for days, or even weeks, Molly never judges and can always make Lucy smile.

    Lucy said: “Molly has not only given me confidence but also independence to live what remains of my life in a way I couldn’t have imagined before. For the first time in six years, I went out on my own and took her for a walk. It was such a liberating experience.

    “Being in a wheelchair can be an isolating experience; people don’t know how to talk to you so often they don’t include you. I found that really hard but when Molly came into my life it was like my wheelchair didn’t exist, people started talking to me and including me. Suddenly I was a part of society. Molly did that. She broke down the barrier between the able and disabled for me. I now feel included, wanted and important and the bond between us is unbreakable.”

    Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, Radley and Konrad Galen-Bisping, from Carmarthenshire
    0844 646 0203 - Watch their video HERE

    Konrad and RadleyRadley gave former Lance Corporal Konrad his independence again after he tragically lost his sight. Konrad was blinded after being attacked with an axe by a soldier during a training exercise, leaving him with memory problems and destroying his promising career in the army.  After the incident Konrad found himself plunged into a newly dark world and would physically shake at the prospect of having to leave his room. But after meeting guide dog Radley, Konrad’s self-confidence began to grow, and the pair built a rapport which allowed him to live a normal life again. Now Radley goes everywhere with Konrad and they even attend a gym together where Konrad met his now wife, Siwan.

    Konrad, aged 37, said: “Before I had Radley, I didn’t want to go out at all. He has had a major impact on my life and completely turned it around. He gave me more confidence and has made me realise it’s not all bad out there. He’s truly is my best friend.”

    Labrador, Velvet and Lottie Wilcocks from Ripponden, West Yorkshire
    0844 646 0204 - Watch their video HERE

    Lottie and VelvetJust after she was born Lottie Wilcocks underwent nine hours of major surgery and since then has also had bowel and bladder operations. Mum Tracey, a Macmillan Nurse, found out when she was pregnant that Lottie had spina bifida and hydrocephalus.  Lottie will never walk and has no sensation below mid-thigh; she can’t feel her knees, shins or feet and gets around only in a wheelchair.

    Assistance dog Velvet came into her life two years ago and turned it around; with Velvet’s help Lottie can be an ordinary schoolgirl like her friends. Not only does Velvet help her open doors and drawers, switch on lights and pick up dropped items, she also knows the ‘speak’ command and can fetch the phone if Lottie falls out of her wheelchair and needs help.  During Lottie’s hospital visits it is Velvet that keeps her calm. The pairing has given Lottie a huge boost in self-confidence and the aspiring Paralympic athlete who represents the North West in road and track wheelchair races, now leads a full and active life.

    Lottie said: “Velvet is my best friend. I can’t imagine life without her. She comes everywhere with me and gives me the confidence to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do without her. She is the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of night.”

    Mastiff/Great Dane cross, Jessie and Julie Barrett from Beer, Devon
    0844 646 0205 - Watch their video HERE

    Julie and Jessie Jessie had a horrendous start in life after being physically abused. She had cigarette burns on her legs and ears and her nose had been slashed.

    She was rescued from a lock-up shed after neighbours alerted the police to her crys. The rescue came at just the right time for Jessie but also for her new owner, Julie Barret, who was at her lowest ebb just before Jessie entered her life. Struggling with the daily symptoms of diabetes, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and other painful conditions, she then lost her father, and Julie was struggling to cope.

    Julie, aged 33, said: “When Jessie came into my life I was at my lowest point but it felt like my problems were nothing compared to the abuse that she had endured. I put all of my energy into making sure that she was happy and healthy and she gave me a new reason for living. Now, if I am upset or crying, Jessie licks away my tears. I have never known such a loyal, loving and trusting dog.  Despite everything she has been through she loves and trusts everyone and I often ask myself who saved who.”


    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The dogs that have made the final of the Crufts Friends for Life competition are all truly inspirational and demonstrate just how important dogs are to our lives and what a difference they make to us, both in our best times and when things are tough.

    “People can vote for the story that touches them the most and the winner will be announced on the final night of Crufts. Of course, each and every one of the dogs has helped to change and save their owner’s life in their own unique and special way.”

    The winner of the Friends for Life competition will receive £1,500 and the other finalists will receive £750, all for their chosen charities. These will be: Steven and Molls, Medical Detection Dogs; Lucy and Molly, A.I.D for Dogs; Konrad and Radley, Guide Dogs and Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen; Lottie and Velvet, Dogs for the Disabled and Julie and Jessie, Dogs 4 Adoption.

    Voting lines are open now and will close on Sunday 9th March. Calls cost 5p from a BT land line.  Calls from other networks may vary and from mobiles will cost considerably more.  Voting closes at 7.30pm on Sunday 9th March 2014.  Details and terms at

    All photos by onEdition/The Kennel Club.

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    February 9th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    Unlike our previous two exhibitors, Rebecca has been to Crufts multiple times before. Having been a member of the Young Kennel Club (YKC) for six years, she is currently working on her dissertation in Human Geography at The University of Salford.  (Her focus is to understand how dog training clubs contribute to a sense of community and the development of social capital.)

    Rebecca first attended Crufts in 2008, when she competed in the YKC grooming competition with her late Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It was at that show that she remembers first seeing the American Cocker: “I’ve been in love with them ever since”. So much so, in fact that she now owns two of them!

    Jasper & Ted

    Rebecca reports that Jasper, whose kennel name is Afterglow Debit Card, is very calm and well behaved in the ring, whereas Ted, or Tricajon Wacky Races, to give him his proper title, is very giddy and playful. Both dogs come from the North of England; Jasper is the handsome black fellow, and Ted is the chap in cream with the big brown eyes.

    “They are a pleasure to own and always make me smile, even if they have been naughty!”

    Hopefully they will be on their best behaviour the second weekend in March. Rebecca, Jasper and Ted will be taking part in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme (GCDS) display team on Friday and competing in the breed showing on Sunday. She reports that her favourite part of Crufts is “just being there”.

    Most of our readers will already know that the American Cocker is not be confused with the regular Cocker Spaniel – they are two very distinct breeds. However they share a common ancestry. When Europeans immigrated to the United States, they took their useful hunting dogs with them. With an entirely different gene pool to mix with over there, the Americans continued to produce a dog which they still utilised and referred to as a Cocker Spaniel, but who looked somewhat different to his British cousins. In fact, the Americans still maintain that theirs is the proper variety; the original Cocker, as we know it, is called an “English Cocker” over there!

    One of the biggest differences between the breeds as far as competitors are concerned is the amount of effort which goes into preparing them for the show ring; American Cockers are presented with a much more stylised appearance. No worries there for Rebecca however; she qualified for the YKC Groomer of the Year competition in 2012 and 2013. We’re sure Jasper and Ted will look their best on the day – they have 128 American Cockers to beat, so we’d like to wish all three of them the best of luck!

    Trivia: No American Cocker has ever won Best In Show at Crufts, but they have taken the title at Westminster (the most prestigious dog show in the United States) four times, most recently in 1954.

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    February 7th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    On Wednesday we met the first of our Crufts 2014 Show Tails exhibitors. Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina and Merlin the German Spitz Mittel, who will be participating in the breed showing on Saturday.

    There will only be 98 German Spitz Mittels at Crufts 2014. They’re quite a rare breed here in the UK – only 82 were registered with the Kennel Club in 2012. The larger of the two German Spitz varieties (the Klein being the smaller), they stand anywhere between 30 and 38 centimetres at the shoulders and are characterised by their double coat, high set, well curled tails and brisk movement. This is a refined and confident breed, which makes an excellent companion.

    Photo Credit: Brenda Bailey, Cool Runners

    However,  like all dogs they can be trouble if not properly stimulated. Thankfully, Merlin, bred under the Zephon affix, is another multi-talented dog. Not only does he compete in the show ring, but he also regularly gets to run off steam as member of the Cool Runners flyball club (based in Kent).  He’s also hoping to try his paw at agility; his big brother Shadow the Labrador participates in this.

    “Merlin is a big dog in a small body; he is agile, clever and very cheeky,” reports Tina, who was first attracted to the breed after meeting them at Discover Dogs. She said she was looking for a small but versatile breed with a long coat which would fit in with her family’s lifestyle and activities. “The first time I met Merlin he climbed up my back and laid across my shoulders and from that moment I knew he was the right dog for me.”

    “He’s a very loving mischievous dog who never fails to make me smile and I wouldn’t change him for the world.”

    This is Tina and Merlin’s first time at Crufts and Tina says that she’s looking forward to taking part, and to watching the flyball competition. “We’ve only just started showing and this is our first time at Crufts so I just want us both to enjoy the experience.” She and Merlin have already had some success at previous shows and can’t wait to let you know how they get on at Crufts.

    Trivia: In other countries, a third size category is recognised; that of a ‘Gross’, or giant, German Spitz. In their native German, Mittel means standard and Klein means toy.

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    February 5th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    Anyone who has watched Crufts, either in person or on TV, will know that the fast-paced and noisy flyball finals are one of the highlights of the weekend. And today’s Show Tails exhibitor is no stranger to the event; she has been participating flyball since she was eight!

    Naomi is the Captain of the Four Paws Flyers, Crufts Flyball champions in 2013. Her parents were a part of the Nuneaton Dog Training Club, home of the Nuneaton Titans, and her husband has his own flyball team too (The Mansfield Marnicks), so dogs are in her blood. Naomi will be competing on Thursday and her husband will be taking centre stage on the Friday.

    Naomi bred her Border Collie, Acer, herself. She says that he’s a loving and loyal pet and is great in the ring. She expects him to do well, but says she never puts any pressure on him. Acer’s kennel name is Mr Moonshine King of the Gods, and we’re sure he’ll do very well.

    Even if he doesn’t, there’s bound to be something for Naomi to celebrate. 6 out of 9 puppies which she bred, including Acer, are entered at Crufts this year. Lycan, Troos and Neon will be competing with The Marnicks, Logan will competing for the Nuneton Titans, and Blitz will be competing for Nuns on the Run. It’s a family of winners, evidently, as their father, Alfie Moonshine, won the Crufts Flyball title in 2010 with the Nuneaton Titans.  We’d wish all six of them luck, but we don’t think they’ll need it!

    Want to learn more about flyball? Visit the British Flyball Association or the Kennel Club website for more info. Or see “An Introduction to Flyball“, written by Naomi

    Watch the Four Paws Flyers win the 2013 title:

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    February 5th, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts 2014, Show Tails

    When we asked exhibitors to get in touch to be featured in our Crufts 2014 Show Tails series, Kate Bull from Surrey, was one of the first to get in touch.

    Her Tricolour Papillon, Dexter, who was named after the TV character Dexter Morgan, qualified for Crufts at just 8 months old. This is his first time at Crufts, but Kate’s second. This time last year, she was contemplating getting a third dog. “I went through the breeds, crossed my list down to four, and then went to Crufts to meet them all”. She says that she spent most of the day sitting by the Papillon breed ring, falling in love.

    “We couldn’t see anything wrong with them,” Kate says when asked what attracted her to the breed. “I like the fact that they’re small, and that they don’t have as many health issues as some of the other toy breeds.”

    A few weeks after Crufts 2013, Kate went to meet Dexter’s breeders. They had two five month old pups who they’d kept on in order to assess their potential, and they had just recently decided to let one go to a good home. Kate spent a long time talking to them about the health of the breed, how to groom and present them and, of course, meeting Mum and both the puppies. “When the breeder handed Dexter to me, I was afraid I would break him due to his small size,” Kate remembers. “Then he curled up and went to sleep on my lap. He’d obviously chosen me.”

    Dexter, whose kennel name is Altaya Foreign Affair, settled in at home quite quickly. He loves to zoom around the back garden and play with Kate’s two Jack Russell Terriers. Kate reports that he’s very smart and advises anyone who’s considering taking on a small dog to remember that they need just as much mental and physical exercise as bigger dogs.

    “He’s a very busy little dog” – Dexter also does agility, the Good Citizen Scheme and attends ringcraft classes weekly. Kate believes that he has a very good temperament as well, which is why she has also volunteered to have him on the Discover Dogs breed stand after they’ve completed their class.

    She’ll probably have the patter all prepared; she says that she does get tired of explaining that Dexter is not a Long Haired Chihuahua (or a cat, as he was once mistakenly identified by a toddler in her village!) “You do have to explain what the breed is and how to pronounce it: “Pap-ee-on, it’s French for butterfly, you see his ears…” and on it goes.”

    Dexter“This is my favourite picture of Dexter. He was ten months old here:  it was his first time on the beach and he got very dirty as you can see . The people we were with kept asking us if we were sure he was a show dog.  A few days later I took him to my local companion show I go to every year. He hadn’t even been bathed from the beach but still managed to win two pedigree classes, BPIS and RBIS.”

    But how does she fancy her chances in the ring at the biggest dog show on earth? “Dexter is very good in the ring”, she says, although he didn’t take to it at first. At his first few ringcraft classes he sat down and refused to move. Thankfully, something clicked at their first show together and he is now used as an example for other handlers who have the same problem. Dexter has not only qualified for Crufts, but also won two classes in AV puppy at their sixth show together, beating 10 other pups in the process. With 246 Palillons expected at Crufts this year, he has his work cut out for him!

    Dexter is Kate’s first show dog; they’re learning the art of ringcraft together. “I think Crufts will only be my thirtieth show. I still get nervous when the judge is making his final decision. My advice to anyone starting showing would be to be friendly to everyone, don’t listen to gossip and try not to be competitive. You will have some good days and some bad days. Enjoy it and remember, win or lose, you always take the best dog home!”

    We’ll catch up with Kate and Dexter at the show. I’m sure our readers will join me in wishing them both the best of luck.

    Want to learn more about the Papillon? You can watch a video featuring them here.

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    February 3rd, 2014Laura P (Editor)Crufts, Crufts 2014

    Crufts is coming and we can’t wait! So we’ve compiled a collection of Crufts Trivia for you to enjoy in the meantime.

    1) The first ever Crufts was held on the 11th February, 1891. 2,437 dogs were entered back then, representing just 36 breeds (these days almost 200 are present, and more than 25,000 dogs made their way to the NEC – from 41 different countries – for Crufts 2013.)

    2) Crufts was cancelled for 3 years because of WWI, and 6 years because of WWII.

    3) In 1915, the first show after WWI, Crufts held special Army and Navy classes for dogs owned by officers, NCOs and the men. Now, Crufts celebrates working dogs (including Army dogs) through their display teams and their Friends for Life award.

    4) The show was also nearly cancelled in 1952, due to the death of King George VI two days prior, but they were ultimately allowed to go ahead. In 1954, however, it was called off due to an electricians’ strike – they couldn’t clear the venue from the previous event to make room for the rings.  In 2001, the show was held in May rather than March due to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

    5) The first ever Best in Show winner was a Greyhound, called Primley Sceptre, as late in the show’s history as 1928. A greyhound has won the accolade 2 times since then.

    6) The first female owner to win Best in Show, with “Bramshaw Bob” the Labrador in 1932, was Lorna Countess Howe. The same dog won again the next year. In 1937, Ms Howe won again with Ch Cheverells Ben of Banchory – and no Labrador has taken the Best in Show title since. (An Italian entry came close last year when it won the Reserve spot.)

    7) Last year’s Best In Show winner, Jilly the PBGV, won the reserve spot in 2011. The last time a reserve winner went on to win Best in Show was the Pekinese in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

    8 ) The most likely breed to win BiS, statistically, is the Cocker Spaniel. A Cocker has come out on top 7 times in total. Welsh Terriers and Irish Setters have each won 4 times.

    9) A total of 42 different breeds have been lucky enough to lay claim to a Best in Show Winner over the history of the show. But this also means that around 160 breeds could be first time winners of the title the future.

    10) A Vulnerable Native Breed has won Best in Show 10 times in total. (VNBs are a group of breeds that originated in Britain, which are now considered vulnerable because they register less than 300 puppies each year.) The most recent VNB winner was the Sealyham Terrier back in 2009. A Kerry Blue Terrier (also a VNB) was the champion of the millennium show in 2000.

    11) Every year, the bookies offer odds on which Group will put up the dog that claims the title. Although it is, of course, impossible to judge without seeing the dogs, the safest bets numerically are the Gundog and Terrier Groups, which have contained the title winners 23 and 20 times respectively. The last Gundog and Terrier Group wins were in 2011 (Yogi the Hungarian Vizsla) and 2009 (Charmin the Sealyham).

    The Hounds have won 10 times (most recent was in 2013, of course, with Jilly the PBGV), Utility is tied at 10 wins (the last being the Tibetan Terrier in 2007), and the Pastoral Group is next with 6 winners (2006, Australian Shepherd). The toys have given us 4 champions (most recently the Pekinese in 2003) and finally we have the Working Group, who have put forward only 3 (2008, Giant Schnauzer).

    BiS by Group

    12) At Crufts in 1892, there were dogs entered by at least 3 European royal families. (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Pomeranian; Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia’s Borzoi; and Prince Henry of Battenburg’s Collie).

    13) The first crossbreeds to compete at Crufts were Working Sheepdogs that entered the first obedience championships in 1955. Crossbreed dogs and mongrels are now a central part of the show, taking part in a wide range of competitions including agility, which was first presented at the show in 1978.  Last year, the final of Scruffts comes to Crufts for the first time.

    14) The Kennel Club took over the management of Crufts in 1948, after the founder’s widow handed over control. 84 breeds were represented at the show that year, more than double the number at the first ever show.

    15) Crufts is one of only four shows in the UK to have representative status, ie the right to award Challenge Certificates to for all breeds eligible for CCs. (The others are the Scottish Kennel Club Show, the Welsh Kennel Club show and Birmingham Dog Show.)

    16) Crufts was first aired on the BBC in 1950. It was televised by them every year for almost six decades – until 2009, when a certain infamous documentary meant it was off air completely for one year. More 4 picked up the coverage of the show in 2010, and will continue it this year. You can also now stream the show live through the internet.

    17) The show hasn’t always been held in Birmingham. It was originally held in London, and has been hosted in the past at Olympia and Earl’s Court – the current venue of the smaller KC event, Discover Dogs in November. It has been a four day event since 1987.

    18 ) Crufts is the second largest show held at the NEC each year, and covers five halls as well as the Pavilion and Arena. The British International Motorshow/Autosport International beats it in terms of space– probably because cars are somewhat bigger than your average dog! It is the most popular however, with a footfall of almost 149,500 in 2013.

    19) At the Centenary celebrations in 1991, Crufts was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest dog show, with 22,973 dogs being exhibited in conformation classes that year. Including agility and other events, it is estimated that an average 28,000 dogs take part in Crufts per annum.

    20) Crufts used to have an apostrophe in it. It was Cruft’s Dog Show (in reference to founder, Charles Cruft), but this was removed in 1974 due to a rebrand by the Kennel Club. Since then, Crufts has become a brand/institution in itself.

    21) The popular Friends For Life competition has been running in some form since 2004. Nominations have now closed for the 2014 competition and we’ll be bringing you news of the nominees shortly. 2013’s winners, Haatchi and Owen, have a book out later this month.

    If you have a bit of interesting Crufts trivia which we haven’t included here, we would love to hear it.

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    December 26th, 2013Laura P (Editor)Articles, Crufts 2014

    Nominations for dogs that have truly earned the title of man’s best friend are being sought by the Kennel Club for its annual Friends for Life competition being held at the country’s most prestigious dog event.

    The dog hero competition, Friends for Life, will take place at the NEC in Birmingham on 9 th March 2014. Friends for Life celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have changed the lives of their owners through bravery, support or companionship.

    The Kennel Club wants to hear from people who feel that their life, or the life of somebody that they know, has been changed dramatically by their dog, whether a companion dog, service dog, assistance dog or an all-round dog hero. The deadline for nominations is 5pm on 14th January 2014 and the dogs will be chosen from a shortlist by the general public. The winning dog will be announced on Sunday 9 th March 2013 in the NEC Arena in Birmingham, before the grand finale of the Crufts Best in Show award.

    Last year the competition was won by Owen Howkins and his three-legged Anatolian Shepherd dog, Haatchi. Owen has a rare genetic condition called Schwartz Jampel Syndorome, which causes his muscles to be permanently tense and has left him in a wheelchair, but his rescue dog companion Haatchi, who lost a leg after being cruelly tied to a railway line, taught him how to overcome adversity.  They have a book out later this year.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “Friends for Life celebrates those dogs which quietly go about changing people’s lives in their own unique and special way. There is rarely a dry eye in the house during the competition and we are looking forward to hearing from those people who want to thank their dog for changing their lives forever, by recognising them on the world’s greatest dog stage.

    “Friends for Life is just one aspect of Crufts that celebrates the diverse role that dogs play in society and the way that they enrich our lives.”

    To nominate a dog, please email details of why you think the dog should win the award to Andrea Peters at, fill in the form at or write to Andrea Peters, The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London W1J 8AB.

    More info can be found HERE

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