Is Crufts the canine equivalent of Miss World and should it change?
It is an interesting question and the answer will depend on what side of the fence you are sitting on, particularly if you are involved in dog showing. But let’s look at each, because on the surface both our judged on looks.
I grew up in the 1970’s and remember the Miss World contest broadcast on terrestrial television to an audience of millions around the globe. Its popularity was amazing, I guess, at the time, most people thought it was acceptable for mainstream TV to screen young ladies in bathing costumes and beam them into everyone’s front room on a Saturday night. Nowadays those that want to watch the world’s premier beauty pageant located in the UK will more than likely access The Miss World Channel via YouTube.
Miss World was organised for the first time in 1951 by Eric Morley to promote swimwear at the Festival of Britain. Since then the beauty contest has seen several controversy’s and in recent times it has been forced to change its format.
Contestants have five challenges
Contestants of Miss World now have five challenges to complete or perform;
Beauty with a Purpose, where contestants take part in charity events in their communities.
Multimedia, contestants need to show understanding of social media and how to interact.
Sports and Fitness, contestants need to prove fitness.
Talent, contestants are asked to perform in front of judges.
Top model, contestants must show their modelling credentials on the catwalk.
Contestants score points throughout the challenges and then move on to interviews, this is followed by the peoples vote and then final judging before Miss World is crowned.
So now Crufts, a canine event held annually in the UK. The first dog show was organised by Charles Cruft, general manager for a dog biscuit manufacturer, in 1886 called “First Great Terrier Show”, it changed its name to “Cruft’s Greatest Dog Show” in 1891. The show has obviously grown in statue over the years and has been owned and run by The Kennel Club since just after Charles Cruft’s death when they bought it from his widow.
Crufts is currently held over four days with 22,000 dogs competing for the title of Crufts Best in Show. There are, of course several other dog showcases going on and demonstrations involving dog agility, flyball and obedience. The event also attracts over 400 trade stands offering everything imaginable for dogs.
Criticisms of Crufts
Critics of Crufts argue that some dogs are bred to have unnatural, exaggerated features. That the breeding of dogs with deformities is often rewarded. That some dogs are inbred and that dogs are judged purely on looks. There is also an argument that Crufts encourages the purchase of pedigree dogs meaning demand is less for homeless non-pedigree dogs. Crufts is still televised on mainstream TV although the BBC have not broadcast Crufts since 2008 due to a dispute about the breeding of certain breeds.
While the Miss World competition raises millions of pounds for charities across the globe, particularly with the Beauty with a Purpose work, Crufts also helps with many good causes. The Kennel Club uses revenue to help dog health and welfare with guidelines and research in several fields.
At the end of the day to win either contest looks are the essential ingredient. Miss World has made sure their contestants are more than just beautiful ladies and they do have the choice on whether they enter or not.
My own opinion is that I think Crufts should be a celebration of dogs, they are such fantastic animals and capable of so much. All dogs should be viewed equally and perhaps if owners need to compete against each other then they should compete over a few, fun, safe challenges and not judged on looks alone.
The Canine Community
Use the share buttons to encourage the debate.