Simon Kelner: There's Apso-lutely nothing on television like Crufts

Kelner's view

Share

With due deference to Mr Hatfield and his avowed dislike of dogs, I have resisted the temptation to take this subject for walkies for some time. But given that yesterday's i contained two stories about dogs (maybe he's had a change of heart, or was on a well-deserved day off), I feel emboldened to return to matters of a canine persuasion.

 Watching the denouement of Crufts on More4 stirred two particular thoughts. First, I can't see Clare Balding present anything on TV without recalling something my brother, a much funnier man than I, wrote a few years ago in a review for another newspaper. He said that Ms Balding, a natural enthusiast, was so excited about the prospect of covering Crufts that she spent the whole journey up to Birmingham with her head out of the car window. I met her at a party a few months ago and she agreed that it was a very funny line.

It seems odd to see her on a channel other than the BBC, but Crufts was taken off the national broadcaster four years ago in the wake of a dispute with the show's organiser, the Kennel Club, over the inclusion of certain breeds which had been shown to suffer genetic diseases caused by years of inbreeding.

So there is Clare, condemned to the outer shores of satellite TV, welcoming a new champion dog into the Pantheon, a Lhasa Apso called Elizabeth. With a hairstyle like the young Rick Wakeman, Elizabeth beat 21,000 other dogs to the title and is the sort of exotic character you are unlikely to see chasing and fetching a ball in your local park. In fact, as the final seven dogs went through their paces on Sunday night, I thought the same of all of them.

As the most immaculately coiffed Newfoundland strutted his stuff like a heavyweight boxer pacing the ring, it seemed incredible that would you see a specimen like that in your neighbourhood. But then again, how often do you see Kate Moss in the supermarket?

The other recollection was of the time I entered our very own budding supermodel in a dog show, a contest for dachshunds of all ages and varieties in Bedford. All I remember was that it required a very early start, a huge amount of grooming (both dog and owner) and that, as a first-timer, you felt you were a foreigner in a land where everyone spoke a language you couldn't quite understand. "Nice top line," said the judge studying our dog. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about.

Anyway, we came away with a rosette and a determination not to put him through such ignominy ever again.

But back to Crufts. In the same way the Booker Prize increases sales of an author's back catalogue, I guess Lhasa Apsos will be the dog de rigueur over the next year. And as dogs are meant to look like their owners (take a look at Elizabeth and her "mummy"), I predict a run on blonde extensions, too.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading

Robert Fisk
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape