A record number of dog lovers visited the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs event over the weekend, breaking all previous records in show’s 23 year history.
A total of 34,850 people attended the two-day event over the 20th and 21st October 2018 at the ExCeL London. This exceeds previous years’ visitor numbers at both ExCeL and the event’s previous location at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre.
Visitors were able to meet more than 200 breeds of dog, shop for products at hundreds of trade stands, as well as get advice on buying a dog responsibly from a reputable breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured breeder.
New for 2018 was the Cuddle Corner pop up, which proved extremely popular with children and adults as they got to cuddle their favourite breeds and destress on beanbags, highlighting the psychological and physiological benefits of owning a dog.
The Black and Tan Coonhound appeared at the show for the first time since it became the 221st breed recognized by the Kennel Club in July, allowing members of the public to meet the breed and chat to owners and breeders.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed a record number of dog lovers to Discover Dogs 2018. The show this year truly had something for everyone – from new pop up, Cuddle Corner, to the hundreds of breed booths and experts, and the exciting displays, trade stands and demonstrations. None of this would have been possible without the help of all of our marvellous breed booth and breed rescue volunteers, trade stand exhibitors, ring volunteers, judges and competitors, sponsors and everybody else who gave up their time to make the event so special, so we are extending huge thanks to all involved.
“Thanks to all the volunteers who came along to promote the breed they love to so many dog lovers, we can help to ensure that all dogs get a happy home for life and that more people buy from responsible breeders, such as Kennel Club Assured Breeders. The continued success of Discover Dogs helps make a difference to the lives of so many dogs, and we are exceptionally pleased that the event was such a success.”
Competitions which took place at Discover Dogs included the ABC Agility semi-finals for medium dogs and large novice dogs, the agility Small Mixi Pairs finals and the agility Starters Cup finals. The event also saw the Kennel Gazette Junior Warrant of the Year semi-finals, the UK Junior Handler of the Year finals as well as the semi-finals Scruffts, the nation’s favourite crossbreed competition.
Elsewhere PDSA, the UK’s leading vet charity, introduced its new PetWise vehicle, encouraging visitors to ask expert vets any canine questions and aspiring future vets to complete a medical diagnosis of Henry, the Golden Retriever. Blue Cross, Battersea and many breed rescue charities also welcomed visitors at their respective stands over the two days.
VIPs and celebrities were out in force to support the event with special appearances including Eastenders actor, Danny-Boy Hatchard, along with his dog Suggs, Finn the Police Dog and his handler Police Constable Dave Wardell who championed #FinnsLaw, and MP for Croydon North, Steve Reed, judged the Scruffts Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog.