Dog lovers flocked to the NEC in their hundreds of thousands last week as Crufts celebrated its joint biggest year, with almost 160,000 people coming to celebrate the British love affair with dogs.
In total 159,536 people visited the show over the course of the four day event, whose principal sponsor is Eukanuba, closely matching the 2008 attendance figure. The gate was up seven percent on last year.
Celebrities who dropped in to coo at the Cocker Spaniels and fawn over the Foxhounds included Homeland actor Damian Lewis; Harry Potter actress Helen McCrory; TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson; singer, actor and TV presenter John Barrowman; TV presenter and actress Amanda Holden, Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford MBE and Downtown Abbey star Lesley Nicol.
A record number of people tuned in the watch the coverage across Channel 4 and More4 with a total of 4.6 million tuning in, compared to 1.8 million last year. Viewing figures peaked at 1.8million on Sunday night alone, as people watched Standard Poodle, Ricky be crowned as Best in Show and Cocker Spaniel, Molly be crowned as the UK’s top dog hero in the Friends for Life competition.
Additionally, 75,400 hours of watch-time was clocked up on the Crufts Youtube channel, with more than 48,000 watching the live internet stream. The Crufts Facebook page was hugely popular, delivering pictures, videos, news and comment throughout the show and now has over 133,000 likes, 366,000 fans and with almost 14 million views of Kennel Club social media posts throughout the event.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Crufts celebrates the British love affair with dogs in a unique and special way and we are so pleased that people continue to get so much pleasure from the event. The show reflects the extraordinary and special relationships that people have with their dogs.
“Year on year people visit Crufts to watch exciting dog sports and competitions from agility, showing, flyball and heelwork to music to dog hero competition Friends for Life and crossbreed competition Scruffts, but it also helps potential dog owners to make responsible decisions about buying a puppy or rescue dog. The event was packed with information about which breeds suits which lifestyles in the Discover Dogs area; how to ensure that you get a healthy puppy from a responsible breeder or rescue home and what is being done generally to improve dog health, in the Breeding for the Future area and how to be a responsible dog owner in areas such as the Good Citizen Dog Training ring.
“We would like to thank everybody who entered their dogs into Crufts or took part in one of the many activities at the show, many of whom had travelled miles and crossed seas to be there, and every member of the visiting and viewing public who supported the event due to their love of dogs.
“We could not have put on such a marvelous show without our fantastic sponsors and without Channel 4 and More4, who as always, did a superb job of showing the nation all that Crufts is about. The television coverage reflected the excitement and diversity of the various Crufts competitions and was a platform for the discussion of interesting and important issues about buying the right puppy, dog health and how to be a responsible dog owner.”