“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night; I hate to go and leave this pretty sight”. Yes folks, Crufts 2009 is finally over – but what a show it’s been. For four fabulous days, the halls have been alive with the sound of barking but now the time has come for us to draw the curtain on this grand old drama for another year.
And Sunday has been so full of drama, that it’s almost impossible to know quite where to start. Today has seen the turn of the Working and Pastoral groups to try to gain one of the last two places in this evening’s prestigious Best in Show competition.
First up were the Best of Breeds from the Working group, who were gainfully employed under the watchful eye of judge Robin Searle. Robin chose the boxer Ch Winuwuk Lust At First Sight, pet name Max, owned by Mrs M Ward-Davies, Miss J Brown and Mr T Hutching from Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Max was bred by a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder – just the latest piece of good news for the scheme after gaining over 200 new members at the show.
They were then closely followed by the dogs of the Pastoral group, which include the many different types of Collie. Former Best in Show judge Brenda Banbury had to take the Rough with the Smooth (and yes, I know that gag is Border-ing on the ridiculous…) before making her decision. Brenda chose American Ch Villas Cruella At Dizzny, an Old English Sheepdog owned by Mr P, Mrs I and D V Wallstrom and Cujdik from Dalarna, Sweden.
And so, from over 22,500 dogs which were entered into Crufts 2009, just seven wonderful dogs made it into the final stage of the ultimate competition; Best in Show. Those seven dogs were a Sealyham Terrier, a Pharaoh Hound, a Standard Poodle, a Papillon, a Hungarian Vizsla and the Boxer and Old English Sheepdog from this evening’s groups.
The man with the huge responsibility of choosing the one dog which best typifies the breed standard of how a happy, healthy dog of that breed should look was Peter Green from Neath. Peter is no stranger to the tension and excitement of the Main Ring at Crufts, having successfully handled the 2005 Best in Show winning Norwich Terrier, and he studiously examined the conformation and movement of the seven hopeful dogs.
And the winner was….the Sealyham Terrier, Am/Can/Su Ch Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice, aka Charmin, owned by M Good and S Middlebrooks from Pennsylvania, USA. It’s the first time that a Sealyham has ever won Best in Show at Crufts and will hopefully help boost its situation as a vulnerable native breed in the UK – just 43 Sealyhams were registered by the Kennel Club in 2008. Congratulations to everyone concerned with this great win.
Of course, there is so much more to Crufts than just the breed judging and the evening programme in the Arena saw prizes aplenty awarded to a host of special and talented dogs.
The Kennel Club’s Friends for Life competition celebrates the unique bond which exists between dogs and their owners and six truly remarkable dogs were nominated for this popular award. Votes have been cast by phone and text during the show and the worthy winners of the title Friends for Life were Brock, a Collie cross Australian Shepherd, and his owner Lou Holmes from Bracknell, Berkshire.
Brock is a lowland search and rescue dog who has changed or saved countless lives through air scenting and trailing work that can detect where a missing person was last located. He has helped to bring home countless Alzheimer’s sufferers and others who have gone missing in the lowlands.
Amongst the other competitions held in the Arena today was the International Junior Handling competition, which attracted a bumper entry of young dog handlers from all over the globe. Over 30 entrants from different countries had to handle dogs that they had only just met, giving them the chance to showcase their natural handling abilities. The worldwide scope of the competition was highlighted by a top three coming from Brazil, Monaco and New Zealand respectively. I would give you more information on the winner but she had the kind of name which makes you realise why Brazilians tend to shorten their names to something short and simple like Pele!
Well, what else is there to say about Crufts 2009? It has been a truly marvellous celebration of happy, healthy dogs and we hope that everyone who has come along in person or watched the wonderful online coverage has enjoyed the show as much as we have. See you next year dog lovers!