Crufts -- The Best Ever?

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Never before has Crufts been awaited with such anticipation and apprehension.

In the light of all that has happened in recent months in the British dog world, since the “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” program was broadcast in August, what were we to expect? There was no support this year from Pedigree, the company that in the past poured so much money into Crufts; no television coverage; hostile media coverage — would Crufts 2009 be a disaster? Then nearer the time there were threats of demonstrations or worse, and anything that got onto the Internet was soon magnified many times over through the “Chinese whispers,” which bedevil our lives nowadays.

A suggestion to hold a demonstration outside the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham soon became, if you believed the posts, plans for a rolling roadblock, dogs being let out of cages, the throwing of flour, eggs and paint, and so on. As Crufts drew near you really wondered whether you would get yourselves and your dogs safely into the show. No one knew what to expect.

So how did it pan out?

Well, for me at least it was among the best Crufts ever. This was thanks in part to the extraordinary line-up of seven dogs in the Best in Show ring at the end of four packed days. No one can remember a Crufts climax containing so many dogs with proven reputations at the highest level in their own countries, and often further afield, too.

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