Crufts 2022 marks its 130th anniversary

Thursday:Crufts 2022; (Channel 4, 3pm & 8pm; More4, 6.30pm)

One of the signs that we are finally emerging from the pandemic is the return of large-scale events that we have all missed so badly over the past two years.

Animal enthusiasts and dog lovers in particular will be looking forward to the the comeback of Crufts after its unfortunate Covid-related cancellation in 2021.

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The event is organised by The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest organisation devoted to dog health, welfare and training.

Sophie Morgan, Clare Balding and Radzi Chinyanganya present this years coverage of Crufts

Over the next four days, dog owners will be showing off their pampered pups, with animals being challenged to display their agility, obedience and more. But Crufts is not just a championship, but also a trade expo of dog-related products with plenty of entertainment thrown in.

This year marks the event’s 130th anniversary, which should make the occasion even more special, and Clare Balding, Sophie Morgan and Radzi Chinyanganya are on hand to present comprehensive coverage from the NEC in Birmingham.

Today’s theme is Dog Wellbeing, and aside from live Flyball action in the Main Arena, there are features on doggy daycare, how to tell if a canine is happy and the best kinds of dog food for various breeds. Plus, Radzi is out and about with his features crew to report on some of the ‘hound headlines’ at the show.

Then, tomorrow, the group judging reaches the hounds group, with only one dog from this category winning the chance to be named Best in Show.

Plus, there is more flyball action and the singles agility final. Of all the projects she’s involved in these days, Balding finds Crufts one of the most pleasurable.

In an interview in 2020, the broadcaster explained why she enjoys working on the event. “I love being surrounded by dogs and dog lovers,” she admitted.

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“It’s also a never ending opportunity to learn more about all the different breeds. Every year I meet different people and dogs, find out something new, and discover some amazing veterinary breakthrough and I love that.”

As fair as fronting the coverage, she looks forward to one aspect in particular.

“Having puppies with me on the sofa is always a joy as you never know what’s going to happen,” she says. “If I can have a dog on my lap or at my feet for every link, I’m happy.”

From today until Sunday, dogs will compete in the same breed, split by gender and age. Class winners then compete in the Best of Breed, Best in Group, Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show. The award for Crufts’ overall Best in Show is a symbolic prize of £100.

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However, what every dog owner really wants is the prestigious Keddall Memorial Trophy. When the event last took place in 2020, a cute wired-haired dachshund Maisie was named overall winner, succeeding a Papillon called Dylan. Maisie beat seven finalists – Pixie the Kerry Blue Terrier, Frankie the Miniature Poodle, Pablo the Bishon Frise, Elsie the Irish Setter, Drago the Bull Mastiff, and Zokni, the Old English Sheepdog.

So who will be top dog this year?

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