Crufts 2019: 20 barking mad facts about the Birmingham event

By Rebecca Sayce | Birmingham | Features | Published: | Last Updated:

Dashing dogs and hound lovers alike are set to go barking mad for Crufts at Birmingham NEC.

Nell, Tatty, Indie and Kaiser, with bottom, Envy and Benji at Crufts 2018

The annual show, held at the attraction from Thursday to Sunday, will see masses of perfectly-preened pooches compete in a variety of categories, from agility, to freestyle heelwork, flyball and more.

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Ahead of the four-day event, we take a look at these weird and wonderful facts about Crufts:

1. Crufts as we know it today began in 1891, although its founder, Charles Cruft, first ran a show just for terriers as far back as 1886.

2. There have been 91 Best in Show winners, with 43 different breeds winning the title over the years.

3. The cocker spaniel has won the most Best in Show titles, with seven wins, followed by the Irish setter, poodle and Welsh terrier which have won on four occasions each.

4. The first Best in Show at Crufts was won by a greyhound in 1928. A ‘Best Champion’ award had been instigated prior to this in 1905 but eligibility was restricted.


Awoman grooms an Old English Sheep dog during the first day of Crufts 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham

5. Bert Lloyd won a record six Best in Show awards with cocker spaniels both before and after the second world war. Three of his dogs won it twice. No other exhibitor has won it more than three times.

6. What are now considered to be vulnerable British and Irish native breeds have won Best in Show at Crufts a total of eight times.

7. Crufts covers more than 25 acres of the NEC in Birmingham. This includes five halls, and the Resorts World Arena.


8. Almost 21,000 dogs from 220 different breeds will compete for the Best in Show trophy this year, including 3,611 dogs from overseas.

9. Leading this friendly ‘foreign invasion’ with more entries than any other overseas country is Italy with 413 dogs, followed closely by France (389), the Netherlands (327) and Germany (325).

A west highland white terrier, commonly known as the westie, during the second day of Crufts 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham

10. Hundreds of crossbreeds take part in Crufts, through agility, flyball, obedience, heelwork to music, Scruffts and Friends for Life competitions.

11. Dog lovers can look forward to 12 hours of television coverage when Crufts returns to Channel 4 and More4 from Thursday, March 7, to Sunday, March 10.

12. The most popular entries in each group by breed are:

Working: Boxer – 199

Pastoral: Border collie – 330

Terrier: Staffordshire bull terrier – 350

Hound: Whippet – 416

Toy: Cavalier King Charles spaniel – 305

Utility: Bulldog – 233

Gundog: Golden retriever – 537

13. This year has seen an increase of 50 per cent or more in the entries for the Australian shepherd, lowchen, Japanese spitz and pharaoh hound compared with 2018.

A labrador sits next to a cellist from an orchestra as they perform a piece of music meant to calm canines during the second day of Crufts 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham

14. In contrast, there are just two laekenois Belgian shepherd dogs entered.

15. The oldest dog to win Best in Show was a flat coated retriever, aged nine years and seven months, in 2011.

16. The youngest dog to win Best in Show was a West Highland white terrier, aged one year and eight months, in 2016.

17. Only one parent and offspring pair have won Best in Show at Crufts – Irish setter sire and son in 1993 and 1999 respectively. Both had the same owner, Jackie Lorrimer.

Susue the Hungarian Puli

18. A small number of exhibitors have won Best in Show at Crufts twice, but only one kennel has bred two winners. Mike Gadsby and Jason Lynn bred a standard poodle which won in 2014 and an American cocker spaniel which won in 2017. Both were handled and co-owned by Jason.

19. Competitors from 45 different countries have entered Crufts this year.

20. Scruffts is the crossbreed version of Crufts. It began in 2000 and titles include: Most Handsome Dog, Prettiest Bitch, Child’s Best Friend, Golden Oldie.

Rebecca Sayce

By Rebecca Sayce

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me:


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