120 years of the World's largest dog show now online

Boy with St Bernard, Crufts 1956Over 120 years’ worth of fascinating facts, figures and information about the world’s greatest dog show is now available online for the first time ever. The Kennel Club’s unique collection of Crufts Championship Show Catalogues can now be seen and downloaded at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/library and www.crufts.org.uk.

From Charles Cruft’s first Great Terrier Show in 1886 and the first all-breed show under the Crufts name five years later in 1891, all the way up to 2007, the Crufts Championship Show Catalogues offer a remarkable insight into the world's largest and best-known dog show.

The catalogues are in PDF format and have optical character recognition, so they are fully searchable online and can easily be downloaded and printed out for use offline as well, meaning that users can now trace their ancestors’ participation in the show more easily than ever before.

The six-page booklet detailing the classes and prizes on offer at the Great Terrier Show, which took place at the long since demolished Royal Aquarium in London, is the first of over a hundred Crufts Championship Show Catalogues now available to dog enthusiasts across the globe.

The booklet from the 1886 Great Terrier Show actually lists the Show Manager as ‘Mr Chas. Cruft’. The show was sponsored by Cruft’s employer at the time, Spratts biscuits, and the front cover states that the entered dogs will be ‘fed on their meat fibrine dog cakes (with beetroot)’. Among the intriguing snippets inside are the details of special arrangements made by the London & North Western and Midland Railways to convey dogs in special vans on their train services to London from several places including Leeds, Liverpool and even as far away as Carlisle.

The historic collection of Crufts catalogues are amongst the most popular and frequently used collections in the Kennel Club library and attract interest from researchers worldwide.  They have been digitised in order to grant wider access to this valuable historical material and to preserve the condition of the originals, which can still be viewed at the Kennel Club library in London.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said “I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have met someone who has told me that one of their distant relatives competed at Crufts many years ago. Now for the very first time, they can find out all about their ancestors’ involvement in the show from the comfort of their own homes if they wish.

“We expect that this will prove to be an extremely popular resource for dog lovers all over the world and we’re delighted to finally be able to make it available for everyone to use. It is such an engaging and interesting collection that I suspect that many hours may be lost exploring it in the future!”

The Kennel Club Library is Europe’s largest canine-specialist library and visitors are very welcome.  Details of the collections and services, including the Crufts catalogues, can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/library.

7th September 2010

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