Last March, Crufts was bathed in loving attention from 160,000 dog loving visitors and attracted more than £14 million viewers to its BBC showing, but that was before the BBC showed its pedigree exposé, Pedigree Dogs Exposed in August 2008.
Since then, the Kennel Club has lost valuable sponsorship from both the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust amongst others and, following further arguments with the BBC where the Kennel Club refused to ban 14 ‘problem’ breeds from Crufts (namely the bulldog, Pekingese, mastiff, chow chow, the bloodhound, german shepherd, clumber spaniel, dogue de bordeaux, cavalier king charles, basset hound, neapolitan mastiff, shar pei, rhodesian ridgeback and the saint Bernard), it was dropped from the BBC schedule for the first time since 1966 in a move that some say was hypocritical as the BBC’s Eastenders later featured a Saint Bernard being used as a show dog and a stud dog.
Crufts 2009 is still to proceed, but will no doubt suffer from all the negative press received.
Last year’s Crufts Best in Show is Phil, show name Jafrak Philippe Olivier, a champion giant schnauzer and according to reports from the Times Online, this is one stud dog that remains completely unfazed by the hype.
“It’s been a great year for me and Phil, but an absolutely cataclysmic 12 months for Crufts. I’m certainly glad we won last year, before all this happened.”
When asking around, it seems that there is a bit of an urban myth about exactly what the prize-winning champion at Crufts can expect from his or her fame. Kevin went on to add:
“We got £100 for winning, some worming products, and 1,200-pounds’ worth of dog food from Pedigree.”
Reportedly, the dreams of astronomical stud dog fees are also unfounded. Phil’s stud dog fees remain at £900 – the same price as they were before the win and as Kevin stated:
“I can assure you me and Phil aren’t going to retire on that.”
Although stud dogs like Phil may remain unchanged by all the attention, the good news is that the documentary has brought some serious problems to the forefront of the public’s attention. In its defence, the Kennel Club did say that they have been fighting these issues for years and that things cannot be changed overnight although suddenly, they did review their breeding standards.
By bringing these issues to the media’s attention as the BBC did, change may now happen but we do wonder if dropping Crufts from the schedule was the answer?
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