The final day of dfs Crufts may have dawned with a slight smattering of drizzle and grey skies but by the afternoon, the sun was out and the heat was on to find out which dog would be awarded the coveted Best in Show accolade.
During the last four days, over 21,000 dogs have entered the show rings and today, it was the turn of the Toy and Utility Groups. Terry Nethercott had the hard job of choosing the Utility dog to go forward to this evening’s Best in Show. The 2,906 Utility dogs had been whittled down to one representative of each breed and after some consideration, Mr Nethercott chose Ch Vicmars Rave On, aka Theo, a Standard Poodle, from Surrey and owned by Mrs S Pine-Haynes.
Following swiftly on from the Utility dogs, the final group judging was the Toy group. The day had started with 2,756 Toy dogs and it was judge Richard Haynes who had to select the dog which would represent the group. After considerable deliberation, Richard plumped for Ch Pamplona Bring Me Sunshine, aka Eric, a Bichon Frise, owned by Michael Coad from Preston.
It was then time for the grand finale. Paolo Dondina, a judge with over 40 years’ experience, was the man charged with the unenviable task of choosing between the seven dogs all vying for the Best in Show title. After a riveting competition and considerable thought, Paolo awarded the ultimate accolade of Best in Show to Sh Ch Vbos The Kentuckian, aka Jet, a Flatcoated Retriever, owned by Mr J M Irvine, South Queensferry, Edinburgh.
Away from the show ring, the International Junior Handling competition saw Paulina Lisiak, aged 14, from Poland take away the title after handling a German Shorthaired Pointer.
After four days of public voting, the five Friends for Life finalists and their dog heroes, waited to hear who would win this prestigious award. The five dogs in the 2011 competition were selected due to their outstanding bravery and devotion to their owners. Each of the dogs and their owners, was a worthy a winner but in the end the public chose an assistance dog called Kaiser.
Golden Retriever/Poodle cross, Kaiser is a Canine Partners assistance dog, who cares for owner Joanne Day from Shropshire in living with a rare condition called dystonia. This neurological disorder causes muscle spasms and leaves her body contorted and fixed into abnormal positions. Kaiser gives Jo independence and the confidence to leave the house and meet new people and helps with everyday tasks, such as dressing, unloading the washing machine and picking things up, that Jo otherwise finds difficult to perform.
The evening’s events were covered by More4 but if you missed the coverage, you can still get a flavour of the 2011 dfs Crufts by catching up on our internet stream at www.dfscrufts.tv or watching footage on the official Crufts YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/OfficialCrufts. To see photographs from the show visit the Kennel Club’s Flickr photostream, www.flickr.com/thekennelclub.
Now it’s time to draw the curtains and, with a nod to our sponsors, put your feet up on the sofa and relax after the last four days of doggy delights. We hope to see you again, next year, at the greatest dog show on earth.