Kennel Club Insight
Your monthly guide to what the Kennel Club is doing for you and your dogs
by The Press Team at the KC
The enduring global appeal of Crufts
Best in Show at Crufts 2018 has been awarded to a Whippet, Ch Collooney Tartan Tease, owned by David and Yvette Short of Edinburgh. ‘Tease’ was the choice of judge Jill Peak at the world’s most famous dog show which this year attracted an entry of almost 21,000 dogs.
In a break with tradition, the Reserve BIS winner was announced before the BIS result. This was the Pointer, Sh Ch Kanix Chilli, owned by Heather Blackburn-Bennett of Poulton-Le-Fylde in Lancashire. The Crufts Committee had sought and been given the permission of the Show Executive Committee for a one-off trial of this concept, ratified by the Kennel Club Board just prior to the show.
This was trialled largely due to the constraints of live television, unique to this event, and of course this approach gives the RBIS winner a moment of glory which it otherwise might not have had, normally being selected after the main prize which naturally attracts huge interest at this world famous event. The Crufts Committee will be reviewing this concept as well as all of this year's Crufts BIS ring procedures when it comes to planning for next year.
The show was once again a great success and this year attracted 166,000 visitors, which is a record and represents a three per cent increase on the previous year. The show becomes more cosmopolitan each year – this year’s overseas entry of 3,623 dogs was an increase of over four per cent on 2017. Dogs from a total of 48 overseas countries took part in the show, including entries from Bahrain, Kazakhstan and Peru for the very first time.
Leading this friendly ‘foreign invasion’ with more entries than any other overseas country was France with 462 dogs, followed closely by Italy (411), the Netherlands (334), Germany (319) and Russia (297).
More TV than ever
Television coverage for Crufts was greater than ever with a record-breaking 14 hours on Channel 4 and More4. This was two and a half hours more than the 2017 show which was then a record in itself. This year Channel 4 broadcast an extra one-hour programme from the show in the afternoon on all four days, as well as a new show on the Wednesday before Crufts began.
Clare Balding hosted daily highlights of the show and was joined by Alan Carr, who presented the afternoon show with Clare, and Channel 4’s ‘Supervet’, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick. The presenters were supported by vet, health and welfare expert Nick Blayney, as well as dog reporters and breed experts Jessica Holm and Frank Kane and Crufts veteran Peter Purves.
The TV broadcast cumulative peak was 11,270,000, which is nine per cent up on previous years, proving that the general public cannot get enough when it comes to dogs in general and Crufts in particular!
Crufts was streamed live from the main arena throughout the duration of the show. This resulted in 848,157 live stream views – made up of 619,057 playbacks on YouTube (up five per cent) and 229,100 on Facebook Live (events streamed in full for the first time). A total of 21,176,822 minutes were watched, which is a comparable figure with 2017. As with previous years, agility was among the more popular competitions with those watching the show on their computers.
As far as online content is concerned, the reach of Crufts posts across all channels was 54,286,176 which is almost double the figure for 2017. The Kennel Club is delighted with the level of online engagement it now enjoys during the show, which includes shares, likes and comments on a broad range of content including flyball, agility and heelwork to music which were some of the most popular subjects this year.
Pre Crufts promotion
In the lead-up to the show, the KC press office worked closely with journalists to ensure the national press gave publicity to pedigree dogs and Crufts. This resulted in coverage in most of the national newspapers including a three-page spread in The Daily Telegraph advising readers on how best to go about selecting the right breed for them; a double-page feature in The Sun on the Friends for Life finalists; an eight-page special pull-out in the Daily Express featuring the recent introduction of the Barbet breed to the UK, Scruffts, Friends for Life and the fortieth anniversary of agility; and a pictorial spread in the Mail on Sunday highlighting the fact that the Imported Register breeds in 2018 could compete in Crufts groups for the first time ever. This is just a selection – the coverage was extensive.
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Just prior to the show, many of the national newspapers also posted Crufts guides, facts and figures as well as historical images on their websites after liaising with the KC press office. In some instances, journalists were not familiar with how dog shows operate, so advice needed to be given on which angle to take or how best to research a story.
The KC press team also worked hand-in-hand with TV programmes in the run-up to the show and secured slots on Sunday Brunch (well-known judge Peter Young looked at different breeds); BBC News (KC spokesman Bill Lambert spoke about vulnerable as well as new breeds); and Sky News (more coverage for imported breeds).
The Kennel Club has announced a new three-year nutritional partnership with Purina PRO Plan. As part of this partnership, the Kennel Club and Purina will support the UK’s dog owners and breeders in highlighting the important health role that nutrition plays in all stages of a dog’s life.
We are delighted to be working with Purina PRO Plan who share many of the same beliefs as the Kennel Club in terms of responsible dog breeding through the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme and the important role that our canine companions play in our society. We are looking forward to working together over the next three years and the positive impact that this will have on the UK’s dogs and their owners.
Ben Duncan, Specialist & ECommerce Director at Purina PRO Plan, said: “We are really excited to have been appointed as the Kennel Club’s official partner in nutrition. At Purina, we believe that when people and pets come together, life is better – this philosophy is at the heart of everything we do.
“Our work with the Kennel Club will help us provide high quality information about nutrition to both owners and breeders all across the UK. We are looking forward to meeting breeders throughout the year and beyond. Purina supports the Kennel Club in their drive to improve and promote responsible dog breeding through their Assured Breeder Scheme and we will be able to announce further initiatives to support breeders and Assured Breeders as our partnership develops.”
Shock collar latest
The Kennel Club is delighted that Government has acted on its #BanShockCollars campaign, which called for a ban on the use of electric shock dog collars, and is launching a consultation on introducing regulations to do just that under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The Kennel Club’s #BanShockCollars campaign has already achieved success in Wales, where regulations have been in place banning the use of shock collars since 2010, and in Scotland where a ban on their use was recently announced.
The Kennel Club reinvigorated its #BanShockCollars campaign in Scotland at the end of 2017 following extensive Scottish consultations, when it called for a complete ban on the use of shock collars amongst Scottish dog owners, and to attempt to put an end to the ever growing pool of ‘electric shock collar’ training days being organised by certain Scottish dog trainers.
The Westminster Government’s announcement came out just days after the Kennel Club welcomed MPs from all parties to a shock collar drop-in session where they were invited to show their support for a ban. We applaud Defra for issuing a consultation on banning shock collars, and for taking such a strong stance on the importance of welfare in dog training.
The Kennel Club has announced that Skinner’s Pet Foods will be increasing its support for working gundog events by sponsoring the Kennel Club Gundog Working Tests and the Kennel Club Cocker Spaniel Championship for the next three years.
These two events, as well as the Kennel Club Hunt, Point and Retrieve Championship, which Skinner’s Pet Foods already generously sponsors, are among the highlights of the working gundog calendar which serve to draw attention to the standards of excellence achieved by dogs and handlers taking part in Kennel Club field trials.
We are very pleased that Skinner’s is offering its support to these gundog events. Both Skinner’s and the Kennel Club recognise the importance of working dogs competing to the best of their natural abilities and we are very excited about this new sponsorship and the events themselves, which will see working gundogs at the top of their game.
William Delamore, Sales and Marketing Director for Skinner’s Pet Foods, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Cocker Spaniel Championship and Gundog Working Tests. These two events will sit well alongside the Kennel Club Hunt, Point and Retrieve Championship which it has already been our pleasure to support. Skinner’s has a proud heritage of supporting clubs, tests, trials and championships. We are looking forward to supporting this year’s Kennel Club working gundog events and many more in the future.”
Photo by Flick.digital / The Kennel Club