The next day was spent shopping – there were tons (by which I mean literally hundreds) of booths to see. They also have a huge section called “Discover Dogs”. This area features booths manned by breeders/fanciers and at least one dog for each and every breed recognized in England. This is where I was really able to get up close to many of the gundog breeds we don’t have here as well as many other breeds, particularly the continental European hounds. I'll do a separate post on them too.
That evening we attended Best in Show. As with the previous evening, they started out with a variety of dog sports demonstrations and competitions. These were followed by something called “Friends for Life”. The latter features approximately six pairs of composed of a person and a dog. Often the dog and person are work partners such as police officers or service partners such as a disabled person and their service dog. The stories of each pair are broadcast throughout the four day shown and the audience votes for their favourite via cell phone and online voting. The evening of Best In Show the award is presented to the winning pair. This year it went to a search and rescue dog that focuses on searching for Alzheimer’s patients and his handler.
They then did the two groups from the day – Working and Pastoral. After that they had a brief break and then there was Mary Read’s performance of musical heelwork to the music of Riverdance. I’m not normally a big fan of musical heelwork but this was truly exceptional. Apparently she has been doing this each and every year for the last twelve years of Crufts.
Finally, Best in Show. Of course there were lights and music and excitement in the audience, just like at Westminster. In the end I felt totally justified when a Canadian bred dog – the Sealyham Terrier Am/Can/Swedish/World Ch Efbe’s Hidalgo at Goodspice – went Best in Show. Runner-up BIS was the Standard Poodle.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and one I would recommend to any dog lover.