When does Crufts 2020 start? What it’s about and why it’s faced criticism in the past

The annual dog show returns for its 129th year with TV coverage on Channel 4 and More 4

Kathleen Rosins with Crufts 2019 Best in Show winner, Papillon Dylan (Beat Media The Kennel Club)

World-famous dog show Crufts is returning for another four-day extravaganza this March.

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Hosted at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, an estimated 26,000 pooches are expected to take part – of which just one will win the prestigious title ‘Best in Show’.

Crufts, officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest dog show in 1991, is celebrating its 129th anniversary this year.

Interested in seeing who ultimately gets to be top dog? Here’s what you need to know.

When is Crufts taking place?

This year’s Crufts starts on Thursday 5th March and is due to run until Sunday 8th March 2020. The event will run daily from 8.15am to 6.30pm at the NEC Birmingham Arena.

When is Crufts 2020 on TV?

Crufts will be aired on Channel 4 and More 4 over the four days. This year, coverage is set to break records, with a total of 15 hours currently scheduled.
The first live broadcast will be on Thursday 5th March at 3pm on Channel 4.
Channel 4’s show, named Crufts 2020, will be an hour a day highlighting the main events. Crufts 2020 will be shown from 3pm on the Thursday and Friday and 4.30pm Saturday and Sunday.

What is Crufts?

Founded in 1891 by showman Charles Crufts, Crufts is a four-day dog show hosted by UK canine organisation, the Kennel Club.
Each year, it sees a number of four-legged friends take part in a series of contests and displays, watched over by a live audience of thousands – and thousands more on TV.
The main event is the dog show competition – Best in Show – where pedigree dogs are organised into breeds and assessed on how well they conform to the standards of their breed, as set by the Kennel Club.
A strict set of criteria known as the standards detail the “the ideal conformation and characteristics” for each.

The dogs are examined by judges, and those which most closely meet their breed’s specifications win the awards. There is only one overall winner, however, and that pooch takes home the renowned prize Best in Show.

Other contests featured in the programme include those on agility, flyball, obedience and heelwork, which – unlike Best in Show – are also open to crossbreeds.

What is the Crufts 2020 daily schedule?

Different breed shows take place daily and this year’s schedule sees Toy and Utility Dogs on Thursday, Gundogs on Friday, Working and Pastoral Dogs on Saturday, and Terrier and Hound Dogs on Sunday.
The climax of Crufts – the crowning of Best in Show – takes place on the final day (Sunday).
Many other events occur over the four days, however, so for the full programme visit the Crufts website.

How to get tickets for Crufts?

Tickets to the show can be bought from the Crufts website or StubHub.

Why has Crufts faced criticism?

The championship has faced criticism in the past over the practices associated with it. In 2018, animal rights protestors ran into the ring as whippet Tease was being given the prize Best in Show. Peta, who organised the protest, said it “highlighted the suffering of dogs bred by humans to have grossly exaggerated features.”
The show’s organiser the Kennel Club has said that it is “committed to ensuring that all dogs have the opportunity to lead healthy happy lives, with responsible owners.”

Who is the host of Crufts?

Broadcaster Clare Balding will host Channel 4 and More 4 Crufts coverage.
A former jockey, Balding is known for her work in sports TV and radio, boasting an impressive CV which includes reporting for the BBC on six Olympic Games, presenting four Paralympic Games, and heading up coverage for Channel 4 Racing on such meetings as Cheltenham and Royal Ascot.

What awards are given at Crufts?

As well as the Best in Show, dogs can win a variety of awards. There’s everything from the Flyball Team competition to Agility.

Which breed won Best in Show last year?

Best in Show at Crufts 2019 was won by a Papillon named Dylan.

Owned by Kathleen Roosens, Dylan had also been victorious in the Toy Dog breed group earlier on in the event.

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Crufts first airs on Channel 4 on Thursday 5th March at 3pm