In pictures: 25,000 dogs line up for Crufts (and 'Scruffts' for mongrels) as officials bow to pressure over hairspray

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

Crufts, Britain's annual festival of all things canine, opened today with a distinctly international flavour, with more than 2,000 dogs from overseas joining their British counterparts in Birmingham.

In total, more than 25,000 dogs will take part in this year's show. London 2012, with its meagre tally of 11,000 athletes, pales in comparison. Competitors from 41 countries will take part, with dogs from some countries as far afield as India, Indonesia and Malaysia being represented for the first time.

And like the Olympics, Crufts has its controversies over “performance-enhancing” substances.

A blazing row between competitors and the Kennel Club, which manages Crufts, over whether dogs entered into “beauty” events should be allowed to be doused in hairspray, or even touched up with chalk, threatened to derail this year's competition.

Competitors have claimed that a little bit of spray around the head to stop long hair getting in a dog's face was standard practice at other dog shows, but officially it is against decades-old Crufts rules that ban artificial enhancers.

Opponents who organised themselves into a group called the “Elnett revolutionaires”, after a brand of hairspray, said that sending a poodle into competition without hairspray was “like Miss World being made to go on without her make-up.”

In a bid to catch cheats, judges introduced spot-checks in 2011, but have now bowed to pressure and suspended testing. A new code of practice is expected to be in place by next year, for the first time officially permitting hairspray to be used sparingly around the head and face, and for white dogs to be cleaned with a chalk.

In another first, this year's show will be the first to showcase the best of Britain's mongrels, hosting the final of the “Scruffts” competition for cross-breeds for the first time. With pedigree dogs not allowed to enter, the alternative Kennel Club competition has celebrated the more humble qualities of temperament and character in family dogs with mixed heritage since 2000, but has never been a part of the main Crufts show.

Four dogs – the winners of national heats – will go head-to-head for the prize of Scruffts champion tomorrow.

The inclusion of cross-breeds comes five years after the RSPCA withdrew its support for Crufts, responding to a wealth of scientific evidence to show that the selective breeding of pedigree dogs perpetuates inherited health problems. Around one in four pure-bred dogs suffer from congenital defects such as epilepsy, heart disease and hyperthyroidism. Other breeds develop health problems associated with bred-in features. Dachsunds, for example, a particularly vulnerable to spinal problems, while Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which are bred to have skulls that are nearly flat on top, often suffer from syringomyelia, a condition caused by their skull being too small for their brain.

Crufts says that judges are “trained to ensure that only healthy dogs win prizes, which in turn encourages the breeding of healthy dogs.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism