Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
Crufts goes large: your views

FOLLOWING THE news reported in last week’s OUR DOGS that Crufts will expand into the Arena and Pavilion areas of the NEC for next year’s show, we canvassed the opinions of some of the people most likely to be affected by this development. Their views give plenty of food for thought!

Great Britain is proud to host the largest and most prestigious dog show in the World. We are sure that Charles Crufts would not only be proud of the achievement, he would also be dumbfounded by the institution that Crufts has become.

Throughout our life time we have watched Crufts expand and outgrow two venues, we witnessed the move to the NEC in the 1990’s improving conditions for the dogs and exhibitors, however traders appeared to suffer in the first couple of years and it took time to accomplish the atmosphere we enjoyed in London. The venue was spacious allowing dogs to move freely from bench to ring and exercise area without being stressed.

Crufts being the tremendous success that it is, it sees continual growth and demand on its current accommodation. As dog lovers we realize that the current facilities are too restricted and dogs are unable to move freely between benching, rings and exercise areas in comfort. Crufts is obviously nothing without dogs, so their requirements have to be paramount.

Crufts expanding into this extra space should assure easy stress free movement of those taking part, however this expansion does come with a large price tag, and importantly, from what sector of Crufts will this extra money be raised, exhibitor, trader or visitor? Whichever one it is, it will take its toll as Crufts is already a large financial commitment for all.

From a trader’s point of view DeZynaDog has enjoyed being in Hall 5 with the main event ring and breed rings, Hall 5 has offered good entertainment, good shopping and varied catering to visitors over the years. We are sure the move of the main events ring will change the whole atmosphere of our beloved Hall 5, but we realise that the show is suffering congestion in so many areas and the new plans should relieve this problem also.

Shoppers hopefully will have more space and be less stressed and they should be able to travel more freely between stands. We are concerned from a trading point of view to lose the unique and fabulous atmosphere that Hall 5 has developed over the years, will this result in fewer visitors to the hall, will we now be out on a limb and become the forgotten hall?

When any show becomes a monster of a show such as Crufts has become, it becomes impossible for organisers to make everybody happy, the only way to keep the majority happy is to make as much as possible as easily accessible as possible with easy fast track routing so visitors can use and enjoy all of the facilities. We must all remember the exhibits must be the main focus of the day.

Mandy Flatt,
tradestand holder, DeZynaDog

IF THIS development means that the aisles of the Discover Dogs area will be widened, thus allowing freer and more comfortable movement for visitors and volunteers alike, then I would welcome it as, I’m sure, would everyone else. If it also means that the numerically popular breeds such as Labradors, Cavaliers, etc are able to have larger pens to give the public more access to the people manning the stand, so much the better. And if it means a bit of peace and quiet from the racket at the Special Events ring for the dogs and breed folk...!

Eileen Jackson,
Labrador Retriever organiser, Discover Dogs Crufts

If the expansion of Crufts is a sign that a total radical rethink of the layout of the show is on the cards, and there will be more room for exhibitors and seriously interested spectators to get about, applause will be universal.

If the expansion of Crufts is a sign that even more trade stands that are totally non dog-related will be able to be accommodated and exhibitors are seemingly shoved further down the priority tree, they might as well save their money.

Liz Gay, exhibitor,
columnist and Glen of Imaal breed note writer

The basic changes to the plans for next year’s Crufts have now been made known. All the Obedience is to be in the Pavilion. The Pavilion is in between the Arena and Hall 1. The Arena is going to house the main ring and the special events ring – are they one and the same? I imagine they are.

The Obedience Events are as before I believe – the Inter-regional Competition on the Thursday, the Championships on the Friday and Saturday and the World Cup as it has become known on the Sunday. There will be benching and exercising area for the Obedience Dogs in the Pavilion.

As I see it the pro’s or popular points are that:-

1. There will be less likelihood of distraction from applause and barking from other rings.
2. We will have the good old carpet back rather than the unpopular Astroturf.
3. The spectators will be more exclusively Obedience fans.
4. This will lead to a more appreciative and understanding audience.
5. There will not be the pressure to finish and get out of the ring each day.
6. There will not be the same time restraints on the judges when preparing and rehearsing their tests.

Cons or not so popular aspects:-

1. I’m not sure about this but it sounds as if all of the 1200 seats around the Obedience ring will be reservable – ie. Have to be paid for? The free daytime seating was very popular around the main ring in Hall 5.

2. I doubt that it will up the numbers watching the Obedience events if all the seats have to be reserved and extra money paid.

3. The Pavilion will be a through route from Hall 1 to the Arena where the Special Events Ring will be and this is always a magnet for spectators. Will this cause a traffic problem in the Pavilion? Will this ‘through traffic’ be attracted to stop off and bring some more spectators to the Obedience - IF there is some seating available on the day?

4. It makes the Obedience more exclusive and rather off on its own – don’t we want the members of the public to know about us?

5. I wonder whether the same atmosphere will pervade if we are off on our own – but who can tell? – it might be better.

6. I personally love the trade stands and the proximity of the other rings - that is Crufts to me – I feel it will seem a bit barren for want of a better word if it is just ‘Obedience’ in a ‘private’ hall. But I know there are those who are incensed by the possibility of distraction from same.

7. Greater distance to walk to get round the other halls. But less from the car park!

It is difficult to be totally for or against. Until we have experienced this new set up one cannot judge what the atmosphere will be or how convenient or otherwise the geography of this new layout will be.

Questions that come to mind –

1. Will the restaurant and toilet facilities be improved over the situation in Hall 5?

2. Will there be some free seating for passing ‘interest’?

3. Will there be any trade stands in the pavilion? I think of the specialists in dog training equipment and the press and journals that are so important to our sport – it would be nice for us in the training side of things to have them placed conveniently – it was pretty hard to locate them in Hall 5 jumbled up as they were with shoe cleaning, mats, ornaments and other extraneous traders.

On the face of it it seems to be a good move and a decision in the right direction if only for safety reasons. The business of getting from one hall to another past the special events ring and round from hall 5 to halls1 or 2 was almost a nightmare. I can say no more till the event except let’s wait and see.

Janet Martineau,
OUR DOGS Obedience columnist and competitor