Dogs centre stage for famous show

Caroline Smith with Truffle, the field spaniel, who will be competing in the vulnerable native breeds final at Crufts live on Friday at 6pm.
Caroline Smith with Truffle, the field spaniel, who will be competing in the vulnerable native breeds final at Crufts live on Friday at 6pm.
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Competitors from all over the district are gearing up for Crufts dog show which starts today, Thursday.

The annual competition features unique dog events, competitions and the world famous Best in Show.

Dino", Crieda Eagle with Sophalba, the Italian Spinone, with owner Abbey Firth.

Dino", Crieda Eagle with Sophalba, the Italian Spinone, with owner Abbey Firth.

Caroline Smith, 39, from Beaumont Park, Lancasterwill be taking part with her field spaniel Truffle, (kennel name Ewtor Affinity for Flyenpyg JW) who is 22 months old.

She said: “We are up against the winner of the gun dog group but she will be judged on her own breedstandard. The judges will decide who meets the breed standard the best. They look at movement and in the running triangle its more like a parade. We have to parade in the big ring and I’m very nervous about it!”

Caroline, a professional dog walker, has seven dogs including Truffle , a working cocker rescue dog called Bat, and five labradors called Pig, Oink, Snout, Squeal and Trotter.

She said: “We’ve been walking to build up her muscle and the night before she will have a bath and a bit of titivation.

Denise Close with Olivia the beagle.

Denise Close with Olivia the beagle.

“It’s more important that she is fit and moves freely but she will smell nice as well!”

Abby Firth, 46, of Galgate, who has a two-year-old daughter called Amber, will be going to Crufts with her three-year-old white Italian Spinone Dino (kennel name Crieda Eagle with sophalba).

She said: “This will be my fourth year at Crufts with Dino.He was best puppy in breed at Crufts 2014 and also won his classes in 2015 and 2016.

“He has got to be fit and have plenty of exercise. He has to have his coat hair pulled out by hand in preparation for Crufts, and only has a grain free diet. I’ve had these dogs for 30 odd years. I had one given and I also had Dino’s grandad and his uncle.

“I’ll be leaving on Saturday early to be at Crufts for judging at 10am. I enter the breed showing so he just has to look handsome! He is pretty laid back about it.

“They are pets first and foremost but he enjoys the shows . He likes being the centre of attention!”

Denise Close,53, who lives on a small farm near Carnforth, has seven dogs including Olivia, (kennel name Sparrowgill Chilli), a beagle who will be going to Crufts.

She said: “Olivia, who is three, has competed before at Crufts, the first year she was second in her class and in 2015 she was also second in her class.

“We will be going on hound day on Thursday, for all the hounds and terriers. Before she goes there is general grooming, she is bathed twice and has her nails and teeth done. She has chalk on her white legs and chest and I bathe her with a whitening shampoo.

“She has a fabulous temperament and struts around the ring. Judges like a certain type of beagle and Olivia may be a bit big for the judges, but when you qualify you don’t not go. It’s never about the winning. winning is just the bonus.”

Cathleen Riley of Corringham Road, Morecambe, will be showing her Schipperke dog Alek, (kennel name Schojan Aleksandr Lakshmi)who is 15 months old.

Cathleen, 75, said: “You have to enter in January for Crufts, eight weeks before the show. They have to be placed first to third in the breed class. Schipperke dogs don’t need a lot of grooming but they will take any amount of exercise and they are a manageable size. He wants to be everyone’s friend!

“We’ll be going down on Thursday for showing on Friday. He shouldn’t do so bad if he doesn’t play silly beggars! “

Crufts takes place between March 9 and 12 at the Birmingham NEC and is broadcast on Channel 4 and More 4. Competitors from all over the district are gearing up for Crufts dog show which starts today, Thursday.