Crufts 2013 Best in Show winner Basset Griffon Vendeen Jilly and her owner Gavin Robertson pictured. Credit: onEdition.
145,000 people were expected to attend Crufts at the weekend, and for the first time ever we were one of them. Now for those who’ve never been to Crufts, this is really is the mother of all dog shows! Covering more than 25 acres of Birmingham’s NEC, the show spans five giant exhibition halls, which are packed to the rafters with over 27,000 dogs, stalls selling everything you could possibly imagine for your four-legged friend, countless show rings, activity arenas (heelwork or agility anyone?) plus several charities sharing their cause with the dog-loving crowd.
A Poodle being groomed at Crufts. Credit: onEdition.
A seasoned Crufts-goer will tell you that a day is not enough to take in all the show has to offer but being a newbie, we decided that one day would provide a gentle initiation into the wonderful world of Crufts. We had a simple and specific agenda for our visit …
Boston Terrier Fancying
Friday was the day for the Utility dog competitions, which meant that the Basil doggy-doppelgangers were out in force so we’d died and gone to squishy-faced dog heaven. While sat ringside we met Dudley the Boston (pictured below), also a Crufts virgin, who’d travelled down from Scotland to make his debut. His owner wasn’t convinced of his chances of winning but she fancied giving him a crack at the big time all the same. Based on his sweet nature alone Dudley won our Best in Show.
As pedigree dogs go you can’t get better than Crufts so we knew were in for a real treat in the dog-spotting department. Bo the Poodle and Pandora the Shiba Inu were just two of the pretty ladies we encountered as we wandered through the various halls.
Learn About Good Causes
We find that dog shows offer a great opportunity to hear about the work of the various dog charities, and often unearth a charity we’ve not heard of before. In our case, this time round is was Nowzad – a charity set up by Royal Marine Sergeant Pen Farthing to rescue stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan. Penn’s philanthropic work for Afghan dogs started back in 2006 leading to his landmark achievement in 2011 when the charity opened the first and only officially recognised animal shelter in the war-torn country. Since its early beginnings, Nowzad has reunited over 400 soldiers from across the globe with local dogs they befriended during their tour of duty, as well as assisting local people by way of providing vaccinations for their cats and dogs and education on how to care for their pets. Find out more at Nowzad.com
Discover New Products & Gift Basil
Our retail-nose got busy sniffing out the great and the good from the hundreds of stalls sprawled out across the five halls. A new product discovery came from dog treat company Billy + Margot, who have just launched Popcorn for Dogs, which has been seasoned with seaweed for added drool-factor. A pack was promptly purchased for Basil for movie nights.
We’ve recently been on the hunt for a travel bowl to keep Basil hydrated on his walks and we found just the ticket from Hugo & Hennie with their eco-friendly version complete with a handy clip and its own carry bag.
Now that Basil is a little older and less ‘chewy’ we also wanted to upgrade his lightweight nylon puppy collar and lead to something a little more fancy – plus grandma was paying so we weren’t holding back! We found what we were looking for from Dogs & Horses (D&H) with their Colours Collar & Lead set made from saddlery leather in chocolate brown and a beautiful, soft, perforated leather in baby blue. Pictures of Basil modeling said items coming soon to Instagram @Barkarama.
Our efforts only scratched the surface of all that this dog-extravaganza has to offer so it’s already decided that next year we’ll be making a weekend of it. For all the highlights of Crufts 2013 and to stay updated on next year’s event, visit Crufts.org.uk
We’re no stranger to Creature Clothes. We’ve blogged about their Dog Dozas in the past and also shared how their founder Cosima Pole spends her Nine To Fido as a pet product designer so when they offered us their latest product – a dog bed cover - to road test on little Basil we were more than happy to oblige.
The premise of the dog bed cover is to encourage upcycling – you know making something new from something old. In this case, all we needed was an old single quilt and the bed cover, which for the hopeless crafters we are made for the perfect project! The cover itself is made from faux suede on the sleep-side and emblazoned with over-sized letters simply stating the word WOOF, and a warm fleece on the underside.
Armed with my materials, I made the bed up in front of Basil, who was mostly intrigued by the process – firstly trying to chew the quilt then doing his normal trick of scratching at his intended resting place to get it sleep-ready (in this case the duvet) and then trying to crawl inside the bed cover. However, with the single duvet folded twice over and zipped nicely inside, Basil quickly surveyed his new bed and in less than a minute proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon snoring his head off.
Our verdict: fun design, cleared out some cupboard space by repurposing something we’d not used for a while, machine washable unlike Basil’s other slightly stinky bed and kept the little terrorist sleeping soundly for several hours. Thumbs up!
Basil’s verdict: 9 out of 10 for snore-ability and offered plenty of room should one of my cat brothers want to cosy up with me for an afternoon nap. Would be happy to recommend to my other anipals. Paws up!
Purchase your ‘Woof’ Dog Bed Cover for £38.50 from Creatureclothes.com and here's how it's done ...
Want, want, want one of these flat faced dogs for somewhere, anywhere in our home – they are just so damn cute! Consider for your next up-cycle or home-improvement project, the ceramic Pug Dog and Bulldog Door or Cupboard Knobs are suitable for furniture doors, chest of drawers or doors. Available from Montysvintageshop.co.uk priced £15 each.
We recently visited luxury pet boutique Mungo & Maud in Belgravia posting a Woof Guide write-up earlier this week. Whilst there was plenty in-store to cause our credit card to twitch, there were two items, which especially caught our eye that Basil and I have been coveting ever since. Aptly named after a movement synonymous with style and modern design, the Bauhaus leather collar and lead in Camomile and Slate is for hounds, who like their style simple and timeless.
Created with all the artistry, craftsman and quality you’d expect from Mungo & Maud, this pair is a serious contender for Basil’s upgrade now that his ‘chew-everything-I’m-not-supposed-to’ phase is starting to calm down. The Bauhaus Collar starts at £79 and the Bauhaus Lead starts at £89 - fetch yours now from MungoandMaud.com
It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and if like us you think your mum is best in show, indulge her love of dogs with our pick of stylish gifts. Wishing you a lovely day with mum!
1. Nadia Sparham Pug Coffee Cup & Saucer, £18, Itsmygeneration.co.uk
2. Dogs In Vogue: A Century of Canine Chic, £15.30, Amazon.co.uk
3. Dachshund Dog Scarf, £90, Notonthehighstreet.com
4. Poodle Balloon Dog Necklace, £49, Tedbaker.com
5. IPAD Case Pink Dog, £19.95, Joules.com