Crufts is to stage its most international show ever, with a record number of dogs travelling from abroad to compete this year in an overall entry of almost 22,000 dogs.
The Kennel Club figures show that 21,838 dogs will be taking part in breed judging, Gamekeepers’ classes and the Obedience and Agility Championships at the show, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 9th – 12th March.
A total of 3,469 dogs from overseas will compete at Crufts this year, compared with 3,396 in 2016, an increase of over two per cent. Dogs from a total of 55 overseas countries will take part in the show, including, for the first time, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Guadeloupe and Réunion. This is eight more countries than competed in 2016.
Leading this friendly ‘foreign invasion’ with more entries than any other overseas country is France with 418 dogs, followed closely by Italy (373), the Netherlands (327) and the Republic of Ireland (305).
The number of breeds competing at Crufts continues to grow, adding to the diversity of the event, with the inclusion of two new breeds – the ever-popular British breed, the Jack Russell Terrier (97 entered), and the Great Swiss Mountain Dog (40), which will both have their own breed classes at Crufts for the first time.
This year has seen an increase of 50 per cent or more in the entries for the Basenji, Japanese Spitz and Portuguese Water Dog compared with 2016.
The highest entry in each group is as follows:
- Terrier: Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 369
- Hound: Whippet – 386
- Toy: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – 311
- Utility: Bulldog – 282
- Gundog: Retriever (Labrador) – 555
- Working: Boxer, Rottweiler – both 220
- Pastoral: Border Collie – 352
In contrast, there are just two Hungarian Kuvasz entered, which is the highest entry figure for this rare breed at Crufts since 2005, which highlights the fact that the show is a true celebration of all dogs, from the well-known to the highly unusual.
Gerald King, Crufts Chairman, said: “We are delighted that entries to Crufts remain strong and steady. We feel honoured to welcome dogs from such a wide variety of breeds, representing all corners of the globe. The fact that people travel far and wide to enter this prestigious event is testament to the place it continues to hold in people’s hearts and we intend to keep going from strength to strength.
“With Crufts also hosting the tenth anniversary of the Eukanuba World Challenge this year, it is a fantastic opportunity to have the entire dog world in one place celebrating the most successful and well-known dog show in the world. This will throw the spotlight on the magnificence of pedigree dogs and enhance the partnership the Kennel Club has with Eukanuba, supported by the FCI.
“We thank everybody who has entered the show and look forward to welcoming all the dogs and their owners who make Crufts such a wonderful event, whether it is those who have been loyally returning year after year or those who are experiencing the show for the first time.”
A full list of entries in each breed can be found on the Crufts website here.