Crufts - Saturday 12th March

(Written by Georgia Hatton)

Day 3 - Toy and Utility

The Chihuahua’s - the smallest of the breeds - will get their chance in the spotlight today - as will some more instantly recognisable canines such as the Poodles, the Dalmatians and the French Bulldogs, the latter of which has seen an astronomical jump in their popularity in the last 10 years!

Catch the international agility first thing - then settle into your seats for a varied day of performances, including the Scruffts crossbreed of the year competition, the Lowland Search and Rescue Team, the Southern Golden Retriever display team and the Medical Detection Dogs.

There will be the fyball semi finals to cheer on, and the evening competition includes a display from the first of the obedience champions - tonight is the boys! Obedience Champions all start somewhere, and to facilitate the grassroot level of the sport, the Good Citizen Dog Scheme runs a special pre-beginners class - so new handlers and their dogs can get a taste of competing at Crufts! 

On Saturday, the final of this class will take place - and we’ve been speaking to competitor Diane and her dog Monkey about it! 

“Monkey, or to give him his posh name, Falconmoor Wise Guy, is a bit of a Border Collie child prodigy. Or maybe that should be pup prodigy!

Diane (from Surrey) has had modest successes in the past in herding, working trials, showing and agility with Monkey's dad Eric, but had never considered trying obedience. However, when he was six months old and being trained in preparation for the Good Citizen award scheme, Diane noticed that Monkey looked up at her. Had she a fledging obedience dog?

At just nine months old, they entered the Good Citizen Special Pre-Beginners class at an open obedience show. The first two qualified, and as he lost just one mark overall, Monkey was second - securing his spot in the Crufts final!

Monkey has a busy few days ahead - alongside his obedience class, Monkey will be in the show ring on Thursday, having qualified before he was even a year old! It’s not all about the competitions for Monkey either - at 9 months old he was approved as a therapy dog for the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, providing invaluable support for vulnerable people. He’ll be representing the charity on their stand in Hall 3, on Sunday.

 What of the future? He is destined for working trials and agility and seems to have a great aptitude for both. His favourite obstacle is the six foot scale which he pings over for fun.”

 You may be wondering about his name.  Monkey is cheeky and climbs trees, so it really suits him!

We’ll find out afterwards how Monkey got on in all 3 of his activities!

The programme rounds off with the Toy and Utility group’s judging - we will be keeping our fingers crossed that one of Zym’s relatives (significantly better groomed than he is!) makes it to the main ring as the Australian Silky Terrier Representative!

13 utility dogs have been crowned Best in Show, most recently in 2014, when a standard poodle known as Ricky took home the title. The utility group consists of breeds that don’t fit anywhere else - traditionally they had a working role, such as retrieving, running alongside carriages or being guard dogs, but aren’t used for this anymore!

 Afterglow Maverick Sabre - Historically standard poodles were water retrieving dogs, originating from Germany. They are more than just a pretty face and a fancy haircut - poodles are considered to be the second most intelligent breed!

Despite just 4 winners being Toy Breed dogs, you don’t have to go far back to find one - in 2019 a Papillon called Dylan was the winner!

Planet Waves Forever Young Daydream Believers - AKA Dylan. The Papillon breed gets its name from the French word for butterfly as the hair around the ears make them look like the wings of butterflies!