Crufts 2018: What to watch out for

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The 2018 edition of Crufts, the Kennel Club’s celebration of all things canine, is just around the corner. And this year’s event at the NEC in Birmingham is set to be the biggest ever with 22,000 dogsĀ  set to do battle to be crowned ‘Best in Show’.

Here’s what you should look out for at the 127th running of the event…

Action, and plenty of it…

Channel 4 and production company Sunset+Vine have vowed to deliver an immersive audience experience at this year’s Crufts. Taking the lead (no pun intended) from an Olympic-style product, the action at the NEC will have the feeling of a sporting event, rather than a dog show.

During the high-intensity ‘Flyball’ speed event the competitors will wear tiny GoPro cameras attached to their collars. If all goes to plan, television viewers could be treated to a dog’s-eye-view speed feast in the team relay event.

Of course, it doesn’t all go to plan when it comes to working with animals…

Heartwarming stories

Not only will Crufts celebrate the purest of the pedigree, but it will also champion why dog’s really are ‘Man’s Best Friend’. The Friends for Life category celebrates dogs that embody the spirit of the accolade.

From poodle, Rhea, who not only helps with the household chores, but also saved her owners life, to ‘Snoop Dawg’ who helped his owner cut out her episodes of anxiety and panic attacks, all the nominations would be worthy winners.

As is becoming the case in talent shows be it human or canine, the public will get the final say on the winner.

A new winner?

When American Cocker Spaniel, Afterglow Miami Ink, was named ‘Best in Show’ in 2017, he became the 44th different breed to land the top-spot in Crufts history.

The still leaves approximately 150 breeds yet to be crowned with the ultimate prize in the world of dog shows. If the recent patterns continue there’s a good chance there could be another new winner. Since 2000, we have seen 10 breeds take their maiden accolade – could 2018 be the year of the boxer, the rottweiler or Cairn terrier?

A rare double

If the next new winner of Best In Show happens to be a Bichon Frise, it could be doubly significant. In January, the Westminster Dog Show, the US equivalent of Crufts crowns it’s very own ‘Best In Show’. And only once in history has the same breed landed both titles in the same year – achieved by a pair of Afghan Hounds in 1983.

The odds of it happening this time round do appear to be slim though. Added to the fact that a Bichon Frise has never won the main prize at Crufts, the ‘Toy’ group for which it is judged has only won three ‘Best in Show’s’ – the worst performing category of all.

However, with the aforementioned pattern for new winning breeds, who knows?

Bichon Frise

Crufts 2018 starts on Thursday 8th March at Birmingham’s NEC Arena with coverage on Channel 4 every day until the conclusion of the event on Sunday 11th March.