As the much underrated former pop star Whigfield once sang, “Saturday night, I feel the air is getting hot”. Even putting aside the issue of working in a press office which has its temperature controls an inexplicable 126 miles away in Blackpool (yes, really), the heat is certainly on at the world’s largest dog show, DFS Crufts 2010.
With three days gone and just one to go, there are now six dogs qualified for tomorrow night’s prestigious Best in Show competition. Today saw the turn of the Toy and Utility dogs to take centre stage at the NEC in Birmingham, with over 5,500 dogs competing for just two places in the grand finale to the show.
First up in the Main Arena were the Best of Breed winners in the Utility Group under the watchful eye of judge Carol Harwood. After careful deliberation, Carol chose the appropriately named 17 month old Akita bitch, Ch Ruthdales Next Top Model owned by Mr M Bostock, Ms J Armstrong and Ms N Kovriguina from Ormskirk, Lancashire.
Next up were the successful winners from a busy day of Toy dog judging in Halls 4 and 5. Completing the all-female Group judge line up for the day was Ann Horan and she selected the top winning Maltese of all time in the UK, Ch Benatone Gold Ring, owned by Sarah and Rosemarie Jackson from Northampton, who went one better than his Group 2 placing at last year’s show.
Earlier in the evening, the Arena played host to the fast and furious Flyball final, which saw three-time former winners Nuneaton Titans finally regain the title they last collected back in 2005. It’s exceedingly rare at DFS Crufts that the handler’s name is even more spectacular than their dog but the evening’s other major Arena final saw the remarkably christened Tiina Liina Linna from Finland triumph alongside her dog, Tending Chimera in the Large dog Agility competition.
One of the highlights during another busy day programme included a truly unique display from the RAF Police Dogs, who were making their DFS Crufts debut. A team of highly trained military personnel of both the two and four legged variety showed their skills by giving a mock demonstration of how they clear a village in a combat situation. Visitors to the show tomorrow will have another chance to catch this fascinating spectacle for themselves.
Another new feature at this year’s show was the presentation of the PAT Dog of the Year award, which went to a charming West Highland White Terrier called Hamish McPhee, owned by Barry and Margaret Crossby from Croydon in Surrey. Harry was selected by a panel of celebrities and Yours magazine readers, and actor Roy Barraclough of Coronation Street fame handed over a specially engraved crystal to Harry’s owners.
Among the other celebrations at today’s show, Petlog, the UK’s largest pet reunification database, which is owned and managed by the Kennel Club, marked its 15th anniversary on its stand in Hall 2. Marc Abraham, the celebrity vet on each evening’s excellent More4 TV coverage of the show, lent his support to the celebration of this invaluable service.
And talking of the More4 coverage, why not join over 21,500 fellow dog devotees on the Crufts Facebook fan page to discuss your views or just chat about what you’ve made of all the action from the greatest dog show in the world up till now. With a nod to our sponsors, I’d have to say that it’s been sofa, so good!