So with Crufts just four days away; 22,000 dogs being prepared for it and many more of their humans preparing themselves, my top ten tips to surviving the UK’s biggest dog show.
1. Wear comfortable shoes!! You will walk literally miles around those halls and trust me, by about lunchtime you’ll be wishing you were in flatties! Comfort is definitely better than style at Crufts! If you forget this, however, there is always a pack of stalls selling ‘interesting’ wells, and I’m sure they make half their sales to ladies in heels at 11am!!
2. Don’t take your own dog if they’re not entered! This sign on the way in to Crufts made us laugh the first time we went, but it needs remembering and there’s no point in taking your new pup along for socialising or to get an ‘expert opinion’ – you’ll be turned back at the doors!
3. Take your own food and drink. It costs an absolute fortune at Crufts – much easier to take it in a plastic bag and a drinks carton which you can throw away afterwards. (It usually tastes better too)
4. Get to Crufts early!! It gets sooooooo busy around late morning/lunchtime (especially on the Saturday and Sunday). If you live close enough, get there as near to the start as you can. You will be able to browse the stalls without pushing through crowds, and might even see some dogs properly!!
5. Shop around a bit! Some stalls whack their prices up stupidly for Crufts (and some people are willing to pay!) but other stall holders are much more competitive and it’s worth looking around before you buy. It also gives you time to consider whether that toilet seat with a painting of a border collie on the lid will still seem like such a must-have item when you get it home…
6. Don’t buy big things until the end (or ask the stall holder to keep hold of them for you). It’s an absolute nightmare trying to carry a labrador sized dog bed through those crowds!! And avoid those stalls which offer huge cuddly toys as tombola prizes for the same reason. If you win, hand it to the nearest small child and run before the mother sees you.
7. And with that in mind, make a note of the number of any stall you might want to go back to, and where it is! The number of times I’ve tried to find a particular stall again later and it’s almost impossible! I do wonder if Crufts is a bit like Hogwarts with all the corridors and staircases shifting position randomly to add to the general confusion!
8. Wear layers. The temperature varies enormously between the halls. It’s generally roasting in some of the main areas, but can be quite chilly around some of the showing rings. Again, there is always the stall selling the ‘I love my chihuahua’ t-shirts if you start feeling faint, but you may prefer to save your money for that toilet seat!
9. Decide what you really want to see and aim for it. There is so much to see at Crufts, so many exhibitions, demonstrations, stalls and… dogs! It’s very easy to be distracted and go home wishing you’d prioritised. For me it’s the gun dog demos – especially with the lovely lady who always appears half cut! She is so funny and I always learn so much from her (and I do hope she doesn’t identify herself from that description!!)
10. If you want to see a particular class(yes, a small percentage of people do go to Crufts to watch the showing) aim
for the ring early and work out vaguely what time it’s on. There aren’t specific times for specific classes but you should get a general idea. (And try not to be too irritated by those people taking up seats around the ring, chatting to each other and ignoring the judging!)
Personally I’m looking forward to the GSDs on Saturday and will be supporting Mascani Rembrandt and Mascani Ikon all the way.
Crufts is an experience! A frustrating, wonderful, eye-opening and potentially expensive experience. When my husband reads this, his top tip will be to leave the credit card at home! He’s coming with me for the first time on Thursday… maybe I’ll invite him to guest blog about his experiences as a Crufts virgin next weekend when he’s recovered?!
Enjoy Crufts! See you there!