KC CHAIRMAN Steve Croxford's post-Crufts message has confirmed that the future of dogs looks to be in safe hands.
Following an extremely successful show, which saw a record number of visitors, the Chairman's thoughts are always eagerly anticipated.
The message again relayed the importance of dogs in our society, as well as the rewards reaped by events such as Crufts.
The message read: 'It's been almost three weeks since Crufts and hopefully everyone who was involved in the show, be it as a volunteer, judge, exhibitor, trade stand or visitor has now recovered from what I feel was one of the best events to date.
'We had an entry of nearly 21,000 dogs, with over 3,000 coming from overseas to compete in showing, agility and obedience competitions. On top of that, we had another 5,000 dogs taking part in further competitions, demonstrations, displays and Discover Dogs. In my view, Crufts continues to improve year by year and deserves its title as being the greatest dog show in the world.
'As I am sure you will have seen in the press (of which there has been much, and in the main, very positive coverage), this year, over 11 million viewers at some point watched Crufts on More4 and Channel 4 over the four days and a staggering 1.3 million watched the live stream on YouTube, our best figures to date. Furthermore, public perceptions of Crufts also grew positively, according to YouGov's polling data.
'And finally, let's not forget that this year we had a record breaking gate of 166,513 visitors to the show. These statistics demonstrate just how vital Crufts is to the Kennel Club in opening our 'shop window' to the dog world and the general public at large, enabling us to promote the vital work that we do in all aspects of dog ownership, education, health and welfare.
'As my first Crufts as Chairman and Tom Mather's as Crufts Chairman, we are both indebted to the Crufts Committee and Crufts events team for all their hard work on such a successful show that brings all areas of the dog world together. Neither should we forget the dedication of all the staff at the Kennel Club involved in the event.
Partners and sponsors
'We put a great deal of effort into securing partners and sponsors for Crufts. These partners and sponsors add to its prestige and make a significant contribution to making the event such a hit with dog people and the general public. I should like to thank them for their continued support which more often than not extends beyond Crufts itself. I am also very encouraged that we continue to be able to use the event as an opportunity to nurture a number of new partnerships for the future, an unseen, but essential part of the work that goes on behind the scenes at Crufts.
'Some of the highlights for me have to be the winners from the show. Kathleen Roosens with Dylan the Villain, the Papillon from Belgium, was a perfect winner to take Best in Show. I spent an interesting and informative few days with our best in show judge Dan Ericsson who was keen to continue my education about dog showing and, using his expert eye, what constitutes a well-constructed dog as well as what good sound movement looks like (in both dogs and handlers...!)
'Who can forget 'Super Saturday'? What an 'international' day it was with the International Junior Handling competition which goes from success to success. I spent some time with these young handlers at their welcome dinner and what an inspiration they are to be with.
'I very much enjoyed the 'aahh' factor of the Scruffts final, judged by Michael Ball and our former Crufts chairman Gerald King. On the Sunday, we saw PC Dave Wardell win the public vote with RPD Finn in the Friends for Life competition with the awards being presented by Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, MBE, one of his last acts in uniform before leaving the forces later this month.
'Of course it goes without saying that I enjoyed watching the competitive activities throughout the four days - the Agility, Heelwork to Music as well as the Obedience championships were once again of an extremely high standard throughout. And one handler, Lucy Creek and her Border Collie, Skiffle, secured their place in Crufts history as one of the most successful partnerships in heelwork to music of all time. Lucy and Skiffle won the Freestyle Heelwork to Music, Heelwork to Music and the Freestyle International Heelwork to Music competition - a hat-trick of wins and a feat that will be hard for anyone to match in the future.
'So all in all a truly rewarding and successful Crufts 2019 - an event about which I think we should all be very proud. I hope those of you who joined us either as a member, steward, volunteer or competitor, found Crufts equally enjoyable and will take away your own fond memories. The planning for next year has already begun and the challenge, as always, will be improving on this year's Crufts and maintaining such high standards.
'Getting back to business, I just wanted to remind you that we are holding a Question Time on the 25th April at Cheadle in Cheshire at 6.30pm where myself, Tony Alcock and senior members of Kennel Club staff will be there to answer any questions and discuss the future of our passion for dogs. If you are interested in attending, please contact Susan Sampson on firstname.lastname@example.org
to reserve a place. Please note spaces are filling up fast!'