Crufts Chairman’s Report
by Gerald King
Chairman, Lords, ladies and gentlemen, as Chairman of the Crufts Committee, I have the honour of giving you a report on Crufts 2018
When I spoke to you last year I told you that if we are to continue to deliver a ‘World Class event’ we cannot rely on sponsorship as it is getting harder to find good quality and meaningful sponsorship, to maintain the high standards we have set ourselves to run this great event, therefore we must continue to work in partnership with all our sponsors and where possible look for additional sponsorship.
I am therefore pleased to advise you we managed to attract one new Major Sponsor for Crufts 2018 in Frontline. In addition, one new Official sponsor in Zoflora plus two new supporters in Fish4Dogs and Lintbells.
We are continuing to look for additional sponsors for both Crufts and Discover Dogs.
The 2018 show was a great success with around 27,000 dogs this year not only in the breed rings or in the Activities competitions but participating in Discover Dogs, in the Arena and in Dog Activities. An overall entry of over 21,000 dogs - had qualified for breed judging, Agility and Obedience Championship, including 3,642 dogs from 48 overseas countries- a record international entry. For the first time ever there were over 200 breeds who could win the ultimate prize of Best in Show, as the winners of the Imported Breed Register classes were eligible to compete in the group competition for the first time.
Apart from the exhibitors, visitors and judges from overseas a number of senior members from Overseas Kennel Clubs attended the show including the President of the FCI.
Proving yet again Crufts is truly an International Canine Event.
Over the four days, the show attracted 166,000 visitors, a record attendance.
With the removal of the Pavilion there was concern that Crufts 2018 show’s ratings for overall visitor experience, value for money and likelihood of return would be down. I am pleased to confirm that the Net Promoter Score for Crufts is +56, up 2 points on 2017. This places Crufts at the high-end of customer satisfaction for a consumer show when the average rating is +30 and the lowest consumer show rating is -12. We were also advised that Crufts is the largest Consumer Event in the United Kingdom
These ratings together with increased visitors are considered a success.
With increased Television coverage across the whole event in excess of 14 hours on both More4 and Channel 4 broadened audience appeal. This delivered an audience with a cumulative peak of 11.3 million viewers 9% up on previous years with 3.7 million watching Best in Show, which was competing against Call the Midwife and Top Gear was acknowledged by Channel 4 as a success as we have seen a steady increase in viewers over the past six years. And the television producers now regard Crufts as a sporting event, which is worth bearing in mind.
The enthusiasm for logging on to the worldwide web continues through YouTube – Live Steaming with over 357,940 hours of watch-time the same as 2017.
The press office experienced a high level of media activity before and during Crufts and 554 members of the press from 32 different countries registered to attend this year’s event. There have been over 3,500 pieces of Crufts coverage across national, regional, specialist and trade press in print, broadcast and online this year and new pieces of press are still coming in. The overall advertising value equivalent for the period was over £12 million and the coverage reached tens of millions of people around the world.
90 news releases and announcements regarding Crufts were sent out to proactively secure press coverage across a range of media. The press office also pitched news stories and feature ideas to individual journalists and producers in order to promote the show as well as pedigree dogs in general.
• Eight-page special Crufts pull-out in the Daily Express including stories on Friends for Life, the 40th anniversary for agility and the recognition of the Barbet
• Media focus on Any Variety Imported Register breeds being able to compete for Best in Show for the first time including stories in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph and on Sky News
• Following a carefully planned push from the press office, national newspapers and the BBC promoted the KC’s ‘Save the Forgotten Dog Breeds’ campaign combined with Crufts as an opportunity to see these rare breeds. High profile coverage included an interview on BBC News,
• Crufts feature on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch programme featuring a show judge and several different breeds including vulnerable breeds
• Birmingham press launch before Crufts started which secured coverage in both local and national papers including The Times and Daily Telegraph, helping to drive footfall to the show
• More positive coverage of the show in every national newspaper than we’ve had in years after the press office pitched and arranged interviews and photo opportunities
• Best in Show covered by every national newspaper as well as lifestyle and entertainment outlets the day after the show
Caroline Kisko and her team are to be congratulated for this.
The Discover Dogs area, with two new breeds this year the Russian Toy and White Swiss Shepherd Dog proved as busy as ever, enabling visitors to obtain information about the breeds they were interested in. The time and effort put in by the breed representatives working in this area shows their commitment to their breed. On behalf of the Kennel Club I personally would like thank all the breed representatives who continued to support us.
The Kennel Club Academy was promoted on the Kennel Club stand this year and over the four days demonstrated the increased number of online training facilities for judging, stewarding or breeding. This year we saw an increased number of judges registering to use this facility, which will become more significant in the future training and development of judges under the new Judges Competency Framework.
This year for the first time Crufts was hosting the finals of both the Eukanuba UK Champions Stakes and the Eukanuba Pup of the Year. The final of the Eukanuba Champions Stakes judged By Mr Jeff Luscott and Stuart Plane was held on Thursday evening and the winner was the Akita Ch. Stecal’s Love at First Sight JW owned by Carol and Faye Bevis and Rachael Corr.
The Eukanuba Pup of the Year judged by David Guy was held on Sunday and the winner was the Border Terrier Baillieswells Glengyle at Glebenheath JW owned by Julie Guverich.
The Kennel Club President HRH Prince Michael of Kent KCVO together with guests in the company of Simon Luxmoore Chairman of the Kennel Club, made a private visit to Crufts, on Friday. The Prince and his guests visited several breed rings, and the Kennel Club stand.
The Kennel Club Breeders Competition sponsored by Agria Pet Insurance was judged on Friday this year by Ronnie Irving who selected as his overall winner the Zentarr Lhasa Apso’s bred by Margaret Anderson. The Reserve best breeder was won by the Watercroft Norfolk Terrier’s bred by Ruth Gee.
‘Super Saturday’ - saw 40,000 visitors arrive at Crufts to watch not only the Breed judging but what was a truly international day with the finals of the International Agility, Heelwork to Music – Freestyle International and the International Junior Handling. This International aspect of the show saw the Arena full of spectators throughout the day and in the evening.
The International Junior Handling Final hosted by Crufts again proved a great success with entries from 43 countries. This was judged by Ioannis Vlachos from Greece, who selected Antonio Ribiero representing Portugal as the winner. My thanks go to James Skinner who contacts the Kennel Clubs around the world to encourage them to compete in this competition, to the owners/breeders who provided the dogs for the competitors and finally Liz Cartledge who is the inspiration behind this competition.
The Kennel Club Vulnerable British and Irish Breeds Competition, saw 30 breeds qualify for the final on Saturday. The final was judged by Mr Tom Mather who selected as his winner the Irish Wolfhound Ch. Hydebeck Imperial Ruler JW known as Gordon and owned Louise Pinkney.
The final of the Scruffts Family Crossbred Dog of the Year Competition, sponsored by James Wellbeloved and run by the Kennel Club exclusively for crossbreed dogs, was won by Jack, a Shi Tzu/Maltese Cross owned by Josie Baldwin a 16 year old YKC member from Kent.
Crufts is more than a dog show but a canine event that sees dogs competing in a variety of canine activities in the Arena throughout the day and in the Obedience Ring.
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Agility celebrated its 40th Anniversary at Crufts this year having been put on as a demonstration event in 1978 with the assistance of Peter Meanwell. However, the people who made Agility into one of the most popular dog sports in the world were Peter Lewis and John Gilbert. We commemorated this by introducing a perpetual trophy – the Gilbert Lewis trophy for the winner of the International Invitational Agility Finals.
In Agility at Crufts this year I am pleased to highlight the judges and winners in the various Championships.
The Agility Singles Championship was judged by Peter Elms and we saw the following winners:
AG Ch. The Closet Monster of Aspen handled by Ashleigh Butler
AG CH. Raenne’s Flipping Heck handled by Natasha Wise
AG CH. Rujaff Red Hot Scandal handled by Charlotte Harding
The International Invitational Agility Finals was judged by Jackie Gardner
The winner was Away to Me Miss Lilli handled by Jenny Damm of Sweden
The Agility Championships were judged by Lynne Shore (who I felt set one of the most competitive and entertaining courses for the final on Sunday) and we saw the following winners:
AG Ch. The Closet Monster of Aspen handled by Ashleigh Butler
Shansdream a Gift of Love handled by Shannon Springford a YKC Member
AG Ch. Comebyanaway Reddy for Fame handled by Dave Munnings
In the Obedience ring over the four days we saw the following winners:
Inter-Regional Rally Competition: South and South West Region
Obreedience: ‘Lively Labs’ - Labrador Retrievers
Inter- Regional Obedience: Northern Region
Obedience Championship was judged by Miss S Dunstan and the winners were:
Dog: OB Ch. Ziggdan Zyco (Working Sheepdog) handled by Mrs Dot Watts
Bitch: OB Ch.Jezzaddy It’s Snow Floozie (Working Sheepdog) handled by Mrs Philomena Barnes.
Heelwork to Music – Lucy Creek and her Border Collie Skiffle
Heelwork to Music Freestyle International –
Lucie Plevova and her Border Collie Jump representing Japan
The Friends for Life competition, which recognises and rewards the remarkable relationship between dogs and their owners, is decided by a public vote from television viewers.
The Kennel Club Charitable Trust had continued with its generous donation of £9,000 to be made available to the finalists. The competition was won by Sir Jack Spratticus, a Border Terrier owned by Vanessa Holbrow from Somerset. Jack had been to four homes before being rescued by Vanessa, and he is credited with changing her life, helping her to live with complex mental health issues by giving her confidence, companionship and stability. The winner received £5,000 for the charity that rescued Jack, Border Terrier Welfare and the four other finalists received £1,000 each for their nominated charities.
In 1992 Mary Ray demonstrated her Heelwork to Music routine which has resulted in Heelwork to Music competitions taking place at Crufts with a strong level of international competition. Over the years Mary has wowed audiences just before Best in Show with her unique routines and this year was Mary’s final performance and nothing can replace it.
On Sunday in front of over 7,000 people, this year’s Best in Show judge Jill Peak, awarded the prestigious Best in Show award to the Whippet Ch. Collooney Tarter Tease known as Tease owned by David and Yvette Short from Midlothian and handled by Yvette. The Reserve award went to a Pointer Sh. Ch. Kanix Chilli owned by Miss Heather Blackburn-Bennett and handled by her mother Joanna.
As the future of our sport is in the hands of young people is it pleasing to see yet another successful year at Crufts for Young Kennel Club (YKC) members both inside and outside the YKC ring with a number of major wins for its young members including Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year and Robyn Arnall was 2nd in International Junior Handling competition.
Whilst Josie, and Robyn wowed the crowd in the Genting Arena, as did YKC Stakes Final winner Luke Johnston with his Whippet Ch Danluke Lord of the Dance, and YKC Agility Dog of the Year winner Katie Lines (who will be representing Team GB at the European Open Junior Agility Championships in the Netherlands in July), many other YKC members also had an extremely successful Crufts. These include:
• Tess Newson, aged 21 from Essex won the Bitch Challenge Certificate with a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
• Charlie Quick, aged 14 from Devon won the Bitch Challenge Certificate with a Shiba Inu making it up a Champion.
• Erin Logan, aged 19 from Scotland won the Dog Challenge Certificate with her Large Munsterlander.
• Hayley Byrne-Ingle aged 20 from Essex, won Groomer of the Year.
There were other achievements by talented youngsters competing in designated YKC events who received a donation from the Kennel Club Educational Trust award towards their development.
These were as follows:
Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year won by Lauren Ashley
YKC Show Handler of the Year won by Georgia Brown.
I congratulate any young person who did well at Crufts in any discipline, it is a shame these achievements did not make more impact in the media as they are our future in any canine activity.
Throughout the show in the Arena apart from the various competitions we also have demonstration and special awards. This year, the Royal Air Force, celebrated its centenary with daily demonstrations in the Arena. On Sunday we saw the presentation of the Police Dog Operational and Humanitarian Action of the Year award to ‘Mojo’ an eight year old police dog and his handler, for their response to the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017.
To all our exhibitors, judges, stewards, helpers, trade stands and for the work carried out by the Medical and Veterinary Centres must go our grateful thanks. To all our sponsors who supported us throughout and in particular our principal sponsor Eukanuba.
Our special thanks to all the teams and ring parties that manage and run the displays and training events – without which this great event could not take place.
As most of you know this is my last year as Chairman of Crufts and over the 25 years I have been involved, the overall success of Crufts is not down to any one person or persons but a team of people working together for the betterment of dogs. My sincere thanks therefore go to everyone who I have worked with during this time who contributed to the show in any way for making Crufts an unquestionable success. In particular this team-work is reflected in the hard work put in by the small Kennel Club Crufts team under the leadership of Vanessa McAlpine working with a dedicated band of committed contractors supported by staff from the Kennel Club during the show.
To all who participated in or attended Crufts 2018 this was a highly successful family-friendly show scaling new heights and once again confirming the strategic importance of the Show to the Kennel Club and UK dogdom.
Crufts is - and must remain – ‘the world’s greatest dog show’ as well as the biggest and best celebration of healthy, happy dogs and the wonderful benefits they bring to society.