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Crufts Dog Show 2024: Facts, History & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

American Cocker Spaniel at a dog show

Crufts Dog Show 2024: Facts, History & FAQ

The best way to show off your dog’s skills is by attending dog shows hosted by official kennel clubs. Crufts Dog Show is the world’s largest dog show and is hosted in the U.K. by The Kennel Club. It’s an annual event held in Birmingham and attracts thousands of dogs a year, with the most popular competition being the Best in Show award.

Although it’s an international dog show, the dogs that attend need to qualify for the events before they can take part. This guide will introduce the dog show, explore its history, and help you figure out how to qualify.

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What Is Crufts Dog Show?

First introduced in 1891 by Charles Cruft, Crufts Dog Show is an international dog show hosted by The Kennel Club in the U.K. It attracts thousands of canines and their owners every year and has been the world’s largest dog show since January 1991, when 22,973 dogs entered the competition. While it’s not the oldest dog show in the world, Crufts is still 132 years old.

Events

In Crufts, the dogs that qualify take part in various events to show their skills, whether in speed, agility, or jobs that their breed was developed for. Like all dog shows, Crufts celebrates dogs of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. It even provides opportunities for prospective dog owners to meet Kennel Club Assured Breeders and learn about training, buying, and living with dogs.

The most popular event is the Best in Show competition, but other events include agility, obedience, and flyball competitions, along with awards like The Kennel Club Dog Hero or the Friend for Life competition. There is also a competition for crossbreed dogs called Scruffts.

two cavalier king charles spaniels showing tricks
Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

Dates and Location

Lasting for 4 days, Crufts was held from 9 to 12 March this year. Next year, it’ll be held from March 7 to 10. The show is held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, U.K.

The dates that Crufts takes place might vary from year to year, but the location has been the same since 1991. Before then, the show was hosted in London and was much smaller in scale than it is today.

The History of Crufts Dog Show

Crufts first started 132 years ago in 1891. It was named in honor of Charles Cruft, who left college in 1876, refused to join his family’s jewelry business, and began selling dog biscuits alongside James Spratt, an American expat in London.

His ambition led to a short apprenticeship before he became a traveling salesman. Cruft’s travels led him to estates and sporting kennels in the U.K. and later, to other countries in Europe. In 1878, he was invited to help promote the canine part of the Paris Exhibition by French dog breeders.

The skills that he learned while promoting the show helped him upon his return to the U.K. He quickly took over the management of the Allied Terrier Club Show in 1886 and started his own show in 1891. The first Crufts show was held in the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, with 36 breeds and 2,437 entries.

Queen Victoria was one of the original contestants, and she took part with six of her Pomeranians. While the Pomeranians that she bred wouldn’t be recognized as a standard by The Kennel Club today, her favorite Pomeranian, Gena, was a joint winner in the first Crufts show.

Lhasa Apso walking around in a dog show
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

Who Can Take Part in the Crufts Dog Show?

Not all dogs can take part in Crufts. To be eligible, you have to meet specific criteria. The first is that your dog must be registered with The Kennel Club and get through one of the qualifying shows.

Crufts is the biggest international show in the world, so don’t worry if you live outside the U.K., as you can still compete if you meet the requirements. You’ll need an authority to compete (ATC) number from The Kennel Club to allow you to participate, though.

The ATC number requires a one-time fee and is valid for the lifetime of the dog. You’ll also need to make sure your dog is registered with your country’s kennel club, provided that it has a reciprocal agreement with The Kennel Club. The application needs to be submitted before December 22 of the previous year to the Crufts show that you want to take part in.

Only dogs that meet the requirements or are invited by The Kennel Club are allowed to visit the show. Assistance or service dogs are the exceptions.

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Interesting Facts About Crufts Dog Show

With 132 years of history, it’s no surprise that Crufts has plenty of facts about its past. Throughout the 1900s, the show contended with all sorts of events that have made it what it is today, including plenty of canceled shows due to electrician strikes and world wars. Here are a few interesting facts about the show that demonstrate why it’s still one of the most popular dog events in the world.

A Greyhound Won the First Best in Show Competition

Despite Crufts starting in 1891 and being known for the Best in Show competition today, the award wasn’t introduced until February 1928. Primley Sceptre was a Greyhound owned by Herbert Whitley and the first winner of the Best in Show competition. Since then, only two other Greyhounds have won the title.

The Show Was Originally Called Cruft’s

For the first 83 years of the show—including the years that it wasn’t held due to the wars and electrician strikes—Crufts originally had an apostrophe and was known as Cruft’s. The apostrophe was due to the original name being, “Cruft’s Greatest Dog Show.” When the show was rebranded in 1974, it was decided that the apostrophe was unnecessary, and the show became known as Crufts.

Portuguese Water Dog at a dog show_
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

Crufts Was Originally 2 Days Long

Today, Crufts is held for 4 days every year to accommodate the number of contestants and the sheer number of spectators attending the events. This wasn’t always the case, though. When the show first started, it only lasted 2 days. The duration of the show first increased to 3 days in 1982 and then to 4 days 5 years later.

Conclusion

Dog shows are popular events for dog owners all over the world. Crufts, a U.K.-based dog show hosted by The Kennel Club, has been the world’s largest dog show since 1991. It was first started in 1891 by Charles Cruft, and the Best in Show competition is one of the most sought-after awards for dogs around the world. Although it was first hosted in London for 2 days, today, it’s held for 4 days in March at the NEC in Birmingham.


Featured Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

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