It’s almost time for the biggest [And best] dog show in the world – Crufts. Each year dogs and dog lovers travel from all across the globe to the NEC in Birmingham. It is like Christmas every day for 4 days and I cannot wait!
So whether you’re going for one or all of the days, I thought I’d share a few tips of how to make the most out of your day at the show:
First of all choose which breed day you want to go. It rotates every year but Thursday – Sunday, each day has it’s own group of breeds that are being shown.
- Day 1 – Thursday 7th March 2019 Gundog breeds
- Day 2 – Friday 8th March 2019 Working breeds and Pastoral breeds
- Day 3 – Saturday 9th March 2019 Terrier breeds and Hound breeds
- Day 4 – Sunday 10th March 2019 Utility breeds and Toy breeds
My favourite is the Gundog day to go along and see all the spaniels, so see which category your favourite breeds falls under. As the days go on through the week it gets busier, with the weekend being jam packed with people enjoying the show. If you go on a day where it’s not necessarily your breed being shown it’s still great fun to see them all. Every year I see a breed I’ve not heard of and it’s so interesting to learn about them all.
Talking of breeds you can walk through the Discover Dogs section. This is is where they show every Kennel Club registered breed in one place [With real dogs] and you can chat to owners & breeders to learn all about them. Perfect if you want to add a new dog to the family but can’t decide what to go for next.
What to watch?
The main attraction to Crufts is everything that is going on for you to watch. Of course the main aim of the event is the showing side of it. In the halls the breeds will be split up and shown in classes. The winners carry on being shown and then the best of each breed are shown in the main arena that evening which is what you can watch on T.V. You can walk around all the classes in the halls and watch them happen. It’s amazing how many of each breed gather in one place and from someone who knows nothing about pedigree dog showing I love to watch.
So then onto the dog sports. Agility is a huge part of Crufts and a favourite of mine especially as Woody and I have been lucky enough to compete there 3 times. This happens in the main arena throughout the day but also in the smaller YKC ring. At weekends this is very popular to watch and the queues to get into the main arena can be a couple of hours long. So plan what you want to watch and aim to get in there the class before it starts. Both the agility and flyball have such an amazing atmosphere to watch from the crowds as everyone gets so involved and supportive.
Flyball is something you should try to watch if you get to Crufts this year, as not only is it great to watch because you don’t often see it, but it is also possibly the final year of Flyball at Crufts. Due to a disagreement there are no qualifiers this year, meaning there will be no finals at Crufts 2020. Hopefully this may change in the future but if not make sure you watch it this year as it’s so much fun.
As a dog obsessed lady of course all my money goes on the dogs, I just can’t help buying them some presents at the show. If you need anything in particular go to the show with a list of what you’d like to buy. But you might just see something you can’t resist! As your dogs aren’t there to try anything on I save all their dimensions like collar size and length on my phone so I buy the right size coats and accessories, so measure them before you go.
If there’s anything big you want to buy like a dog bed I would buy it so it doesn’t sell out in that size or colour, but ask if you can leave it at their stand until the end of the day so you don’t have to carry it round with you. Lots of dedicated Crufts shoppers bring their own trollies, they’re on a mission!
If you follow your favourite companies on social media you’ll see them start to share their Crufts Special offers before the show. Make a note of the ones you like and go to them on the day. There’s often some great deals on products you love so buying them at the show can save you lots of money!
If there’s a particular type of dog coat or harness you’re after then walk round and compare the prices between different stands and suppliers. Some may have special offers on and by keeping an eye out whilst you look round you can often save quite a few pennies meaning you can spoil your dogs even more.
The NEC is a great venue but one of the downsides is as there’s nowhere else to park nearby they can trap you with the car park fee. On the day it is £16 but if you book in advance it saves the queue in the car park but it’s also £12 which is a bit cheaper.
Again the food can be pricey inside the NEC and come lunch time the queues are huge. Take your own lunch to avoid this or pop into a supermarket on your way. If you’ve got good seats to watch a display or are in the main arena you don’t have to lose your spot and can just get it out of your bag.
Unlike the summer big dog shows you are not allowed to bring your dogs along for the day with you. I’ve been lucky enough to compete at Crufts 3 times with Woody so have been able to take him along. It was so much fun but the weekends especially are too crowded for dogs. They can get squashed beneath everyones feet and it’s no fun for them. When we’re not competing my dogs are much happier staying at home and i’ll bring home lots of goodies for them.
I am giving away two tickets [For humans] with Frontline UK to any day of the show. All you need to do is head on over to our Instagram page, follow us @thecotswoldspaniels and @frontline.uk on Instagram, then tag a friend in the comments. Each comment = one entry and you can enter as many times as you’d like.
Parking and Travel is not included in the giveaway.
If you’re going to Crufts this year I hope you have an amazing time, and do let us know what your favourite part was. If you can’t make it theres a programme each night on Channel 4 for you to watch from home with your dogs.
Thanks for reading,
Megan, Woody & Wilma x