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The Crufts Coundown begins

The trophies are polished, the collars are on, the nation’s sweetheart, Clare Balding is warming up. It can mean only one thing - the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts is almost upon us.

No longer just a dog show, Crufts 2013 is bursting at the seams, packed full of events and competitions that celebrate the talents of man’s best friend. The  Crufts Factor competition is back, the tear-jerking Friends for Life competition returns, while agility, flyball and heelwork to music will all be captivating worldwide audiences.

Making its debut at Crufts 2013 will be the crossbreed only competition, Scruffts, but of course, what the world will be waiting for is the judge’s decision on which canine will take Crufts Best in Show on Sunday March 10th.

145,000 people are expected to come through the doors of the NEC from the 7th – 10th March to meet the 27,000 dogs that will be at Crufts over the four days. Visitors will be able to watch the live events each day throughout the NEC and speak to experts about different breeds and the future of dog health.

Olympic medallist Mark Foster is diving into the role of judge for the return of the Crufts Factor competition, which promises a final of the finest canine talent following headline success in its premier year at Crufts 2012. ITV’s ‘That Dog Can Dance’ winner Lucy Heath will be joining Mark on Sunday March 10th as they decide which act will triumph.

Samantha Brick, journalist and previous Celebrity Big Brother contestant will be making a special guest appearance in the Arena on Friday March 8th as she will be making the difficult decision of choosing the Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year. The competition, sponsored by James Wellbeloved, will see class winners Becky, Rascal, Alfie and Barley, all crossbreeds with unique and heart-warming stories, go head to head in the first ever Scruffts final to be held at Crufts.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “Crufts really is a fantastic event. Each year it continues to grow and we are delighted to see the Crufts Factor return and the first ever Scruffts final to be held at the show.

“One of my favourite competitions is Friends for Life - each year we hear amazing stories of how dogs have helped people pull through illnesses, given those with disabilities a new lease of life or worked with search teams to rescue those in need. I doubt there will be a dry eye in the arena when these fantastic dogs enter.

“There are so many dogs for the public to meet, greet and fall in love with throughout the show. We have around 200 different breeds visitors can find out all about and each day we will have special rescue dogs make an appearance on the Kennel Club Breed Rescue and Kennel Club Charitable Trust stand.”

For the first time ever, there will be a KCAI Career Zone hosted by the Kennel Club Accredited Instructors scheme in collaboration with Purina PRO PLAN. Aimed at professionals in the dog world, the KCAI Career Zone will see industry experts offer seminars, workshops and career guidance relevant to those who work with dogs across a range of disciplines, from dog trainers and behaviourists to dog wardens and re-homing volunteers. KCAI members and professionals working with dogs, who book into the Career Zone in advance, will be offered free entry to Crufts.

National TV treasure Clare Balding will again be engaging viewers, guiding them through the canine extravaganza on More 4 from Thursday to Sunday and then culminating on Channel 4 for the Best in Show finale on Sunday evening. Viewers throughout the UK will be enthralled by all things canine as they are introduced to the hundreds of different pedigree breeds, the wonderful canine sports and the famous Best in Show competition. Those outside the UK can watch all the key action live on the Crufts YouTube Channel - www.youtube.com/officialcrufts.

Crufts is a British institution, that has been entertaining the country and its dogs for over 120 years. It has changed in ways Charles Cruft could never have imagined, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the passion the owners have for their dogs.

Tickets cost £14 for adults in advance and £17 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £17.50. Concessions are also available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee.  Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 444 99 44, or online at www.theticketfactory.com.
The Crufts we love is back and better than ever. For more information visit www.crufts.org.uk.

ENDS
15th February 2013
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2/15/2013