Gun Dogs at Crufts 2013- 03.12.13
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
As this year saw the addition of our own NotPuppy, Bucky, it seems like the perfect time to celebrate dogs with a visit to the world’s largest dog show, The Kennel Club’s Crufts! We attended Crufts on Gun Dog day, a celebration of all our favorite retrievers, spaniels, pointers and so many other breeds developed for work in the field. Check out the next page for pics from our adventures - from lots of awesome dogs in action, both working the judges and flying through the air during agility competitions, as well as the naps taken in between, bonding with people, and everything in between!
A total of over 25,000 dogs attended Crufts over its four busy days with over 23,000 purebred dogs competing for Best in Show. On Gun Dog day, popular breeds such as labradors also had impressive entry numbers, with 561 canines competing!
Irish setters in the showring. This type of conformation judging is what we typically associate with dog shows. Canines are compared to their ‘breed standard’ which describes their proportions, build, gait and other characteristics. Judging takes place in many stages, with dogs competing in classes based on their sex, age and previous competition success, with winner proceeding to higher categories until a single ‘Best of Breed’ is selected to represent the breed in the Group stage judging. The winners of the group stages go on to compete in the coveted ‘Best in Show’.
The numerous classes create a lot of down time between rounds for the dogs and their people who rest on their allotted benches and enjoy the rest of the show.
Novia Scotia Duck Tolling retrievers resting on their benches.
This poor pup was reprimanded for wandering off to greet an onlooker during the judging.
Dutch Kooikerhondje waiting for their turn in the ring.
Hungarian Vizslas during their judging.
Italian Spinones compete for coveted rosettes and a place in the Gun Dog group final.
A bench of napping Labrador retrievers.
Weimaraners in the ring.
I especially loved the BASC Gameskeeper classes, dedicated to working gun dogs. I later discovered that these Gameskeeper rings were actually the foundation of Crufts. The Gamekeepers Association of the United Kingdom was founded in 1900, with Crufts developed out of the Gamekeepers Association Annual General Meeting in 1901 before being taken over by the Kennel Club.
In these classes, dogs are not necessarily of the same breed and handlers swap suits for tweed. The dogs on show have just completed an active season of field work, driving, pointing, flushing and retrieving game.
However, Crufts is about so much more than breed standards, it was an incredible celebration of dogs and our relationships with them and the day was filled with touching moments between dogs and their owners and handlers.
The agility competition sent dogs jumping, flying and weaving their way through complex obstacle courses, with incredible focus from the dogs on their handlers for directions. The slightest change in body position from the handlers sent the dogs hurtling on to the next obstacle.
Dogs race from the start line in the relay-style flyball competition that had the entire arena cheering and on their feet.
The show was also a great showcase for all registered dog breeds with Discover Dogs. Top to bottom, left to right, Newfoundland, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Italian Spinone, Vizsla, German Shorthaired Pointer, Afghan Hound, Irish Setter, Slovakian Rough-haired Pointer, Eurasier, Golden Retriever, Shiba Inu, Flat-coated Retriever, Flat-coated Retriever, Neapolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, American Cocker Spaniel, Komondor, Weimaraner, Tibetan Mastiff, Bracco Italiano, Shiba Inu, Labrador Retriever.
Junior handlers showing off their dogs. These handlers are judged on their skills rather than the dogs they are showing. The handlers only met these dogs on the morning of the competition.
The culmination of the day was the group judging, in which a single dog represented each breed in the Gun Dog group final. Here dogs and their handlers wait for the judge to pick his shortlist for the ‘Best of Group’ award for the Gun Dog group.
The winner of the Gun Dog group was “It. Ch. Loch Mor Romeo” owned by Franco Barberi, who went on to become runner up, or ‘reserve best in show’.
… and we weren’t the only one’s taking pics of all the gorgeous dogs!