Whilst Crufts is always a special event in the calendar, this year is set to be extra special as 2006 is the Year of the Dog, according to the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year day is on January 29th, 2006 and because this is a new moon day, it is the first day of the first Chinese lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar system.
For a company like Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant and Major Supporter of Crufts for 14 years thanks to its work in canine welfare, the 2006 show will be a landmark event. Korea’s most famous national dog breed, the Jindo, will be officially classified on the Kennel Club’s Imported Breed Register list. A rare and highly preserved breed, the Jindo will make its first official appearance at Discover Dogs at the show.
As John Kim, Senior Vice President, Samsung Office of International Relations explains, the changing attitude towards companion animals in Korea is helping to create a more aware and understanding generation. John says: "During the past decade, Samsung has not only witnessed an overall growth in the number of companion dogs in Korea and genuine concern to meet responsible pet ownership criteria, but also a desire to learn and acquire as many varied canine techniques as possible. This includes skills such as show judging and handling, to heelwork to music training, socialization, rehoming and grooming. We work with some of the best international trainers, organisations and breeders, many of whom come from the UK, to help ensure we get things right and deliver real change. This has been a very slow, sustained and steady process and an event like Crufts allows us to showcase the changes taking place in Korea. 2006 is a very special year indeed."
So with so many significant changes on the way for dogs in countries like Korea, how did the dog manage its claim its poll position on the Chinese Lunar Calendar? According to legend, thousands of years ago Buddha decided to reorganize the Chinese nation and sent out a summons to all the animals in world. Only twelve chose to obey. These were the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, chicken, dog, and boar. As a result, Buddha gave each animal a year of its own in the order of its arrival. From then on, so the legend claims, each year of the Chinese calendar bears the characteristics of the animal of that name.
Whether you are a dog owner, a dog lover, or perhaps fortunate enough to have been born in a Year of the Dog, have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2006!