Friday at the greatest dog show on earth and the morning began full of eastern promise with a special visit from Asia. Godofredo Salud from the Philippine Canine Club signed a reciprocal agreement with Kennel Club Chairman Ronnie Irving and Secretary Caroline Kisko at the morning press briefing. A handshake, signatures and a round of applause later and UK pedigrees had the option of an extended stay in the beautiful sun-kissed Pacific archipelago of the Philippines – doubtless Filipino pedigree dogs can feel equally as excited at the prospect of a new life in the wet, muddy fields of the Cotswolds or a bowl of tasty Lincolnshire pork sausages covered in gravy.
Day two meant it was the turn of Terriers and Hounds, with 2,381 Terriers and 3,609 Hounds ready to strut their stuff in the fiercest competition of their lives.
Mr Jack Watson was judging the Terrier Group, where he chose Ch Filigate Brash Celebration, a two year old Scottish Terrier dog owned by Valentina Popova from Russia.
After a short break, next up was the Best in Group for the Hound Group with Mrs Liz Cartledge overseeing proceedings. Always a hotly contested group, Mrs Cartledge plumped for a five year old Pharaoh Hound from Alvesta in Sweden, Ch Northgate’s As You Like It.
Earlier in the ring, the first ever Breeders’ Competition Final took place in the Arena today in front of a packed out crowd. The culmination of a year’s worth of top breeder winners from Championship Shows, over thirty breeders had made it through to the final and were judged by Mr Jeff Horswell. The competition was designed to recognise and support the commitment and talent shown by UK breeders, creating a new arena where breeders are able to demonstrate their breeding skills and take pride in showing off their prized stock. This is done by judging competitors who have entered four or more dogs of the same breed they have bred themselves.
Judith Gregory of Tonkory Kennels, based in Iron Acton in Bristol took the esteemed silver trophy with her four beautiful Border Collies bred by her. Of her victory, she said: “I'm overwhelmed, this is such an amazing achievement. I knew the team were doing well but never thought we would win. I’m just thrilled."
Away from the show ring, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust stand had one of the Friends for Life entrants Coco and Karen on hand to reveal some of the amazing work undertaken by Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs, a truly remarkable project given a £25,000 grant by the Charitable Trust.
Coco is the first dog in the world to be able to detect a potentially fatal attack of Addison's Disease in her owner, Karen. Coco saves Karen’s life regularly by alerting her to when the cortisol levels in her body fluctuate. He stops Karen from falling into a coma at least twice a week by detecting when her body's cortisol falls below a certain level and fetches her medicine bag. The charity also trains dogs to detect cancer and hypo alerts in diabetics but Coco is its first Addison's assistance dog.
Coco is one of five nominees for the Friends for Life competition, which since 2006 has celebrated heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have truly earned the title of man’s best friend, through bravery, support or companionship.
Elsewhere in the dog house, the KCAI Lounge saw the launch of the new City and Guilds qualification. Representatives from the Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Scheme explained the finer points of the first nationally recognised qualification in the UK for instructors involved in teaching dog training and canine behaviour.
City & Guilds NPTC, the biggest awarding body in the UK for vocational awards, has formally endorsed the scheme and recognised the Kennel Club as an Approved Centre for offering the national qualification – the Kennel Club National Quality Award for Instructors in Dog Training and Canine Behaviour.
All of this means that for the first time in the UK, instructors involved in teaching dog training and advising on canine behaviour will have the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised, credible and externally verified qualification. Dog owners and dog training enthusiasts will benefit by having the reassurance of a national standard to ensure that they are provided with the best quality advice and service.
For those less au fait with the show circuit, the Discover Dogs area today hosted over 200 breeds of pedigree dog to see and learn more about. Sponsored by Royal Canin, visitors got the chance to talk to owners and breeders and gain first hand advice on grooming, training and whether the breed is correct for their lifestyle. DFS Crufts aims to make the dog world as accessible as possible for all visitors, and the message is clear that part of being a responsible dog owner is selecting the breed that suits your needs. The area continues to educate for the second half of DFS Crufts 2010.
Make sure you catch up with all the DFS Crufts action on More4, and we look forward to day three when it’s the turn of the Toys and the Utility breeds.