Crufts – nice doggies and all that

Primp. Preen. Parade.

People and Pups (so cute to call dogs pups) run around the ring indistinguishably, hair and fur floating elegantly in the breeze. Unless they are a Mexican Hairless, or a Hairless Chihuahua, of course.

Pose and gait just so. Perfectly bred. The pups more so than the people.

Who will be best of breed? (The dog not the person). Heaven forbid we would be judging people on their looks, their personality, their walk, their body .. oh we do.

Let’s take a commercial break though while the beauty kings and queens are trotting around their ring.

Crufts is, allegedly the largest show of its kind in the world and dates back to 1886. I thought it might have been the oldest but can you believe it? The American Westminster dog show dates back to 1877. Damn Americans beating us to something for once.

Anyway, for once we are bigger and better. Crufts lasts for four days and the Westminster only two.


Ironically, while all these pampered pooches are being admired and ooh-ed and aah-ed over at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre this weekend, a protest march will be carried out in Brighton tomorrow against the continued use of Beagle dogs for vivisection at Harlan laboratories in the UK.

Save Beagles from animal testing.

A tale of a beagle with a happy ending. Unlike the others

How about some other shaggy dog stories?

Kansas, USA

Witnesses say the German shepherd was thrown from a bridge in Kansas City falling over forty feet.
A horse show was being held at the Hale Arena in Kansas City when witnesses saw a 2-year-old German shepherd come flying off the bridge and land in a snow bank. Although one witness called for help, no one rushed to her aid until two horse show attendees pulled up, putting her in their car and getting her to the vet as fast as they could.

Lindey is lucky to even be alive after her horrific fall. “When dogs fall that far they assume an orientation in space where front legs are coming down first, followed by their head,” said veterinarian Dr. Richard Smith. “We call that a 3-point landing and it’s not very pleasant, when front legs give out and then their chin hits the ground and causes damage to their mouth as well.”

Lindey will need complicated and expensive surgery to repair both of her front legs and damage she sustained to her teeth. The surgery along with follow-up care could cost $10,000. Lindey also sustained some internal injuries. 

To help donate towards Lindey’s surgery and recovery go to

Pennsylvania, USA

GREENTOWN, Pa. — A north-eastern Pennsylvania man is facing charges after he allegedly duct-taped a dog’s legs and muzzle.
Pennsylvania Humane Society police Officer said she filed cruelty-to-animal charges against a 26-year-old Greentown, Pike County, resident.
Metzgar said the Labrador/pit bull mix was found at his house, bound with duct tape and placed in an outbuilding.
She said the animal was taken to a veterinarian and was recovering.

Plenty more duct tape stories where that one came from too.

Leeds/Bradford, Yorkshire, UK

An 11-week-old puppy has been saved from a life of disability by physiotherapists after her front legs failed to develop.

The puppy, which was nicknamed ‘Wonky’ due to her bent forelegs, has learned to walk again after two weeks intense physiotherapy.
Her rare condition was caused by her front leg tendons not developing properly after she was separated from her mother at an early age.
The Staffordshire bull terrier cross was found wandering on the streets of Bradford after being abandoned.
Staff at the Leeds Dogs Trust straighten Juliet‘s legs 30 times a day, to strengthen her muscles.

Waterloo, Iowa, USA

Caleb, a Labrador retriever mix, was found back on Feb. 16, locked inside of a feces and urine filled crate. It was evident that the dog has suffered greatly before finally succumbing to starvation.

Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK

Trusting terrier Issac was snatched from a garden in the city, led into scrubland and tied to a tree before his legs were broken, he was attacked, and his body set alight.

He burned to death, by the way.

It’s a dog’s life?

But let’s go back to Crufts where 22,000 dogs are competing for best in show. And in 2010 nearly 3,000 dogs were killed at Britain’s most famous dog shelter, Battersea Dogs’ Home. And that’s just one dog home and the number of kills. A drop in the ocean. Who cares about unwanted dogs?

Who can’t resist watching all those adorable, extremely well-bred dogs strutting their stuff around the ring at Crufts though? I know I always used to enjoy watching them.

I liked the working groups because it involved boxers, and then I liked the hounds, and the gundog group. I always wanted a setter, or maybe an afghan, such elegant dogs.

I loved to watch the exercises where clever dogs leaped over huge hurdles, wriggled through tunnels (obviously didn’t suffer from claustrophobia), and bounced cleverly up and down see-saws and walked on parallel beams. Or something like that.

I gather there is now a dancing dog routine. Perhaps they will add dancing bears next? So quaint and such a lovely British tradition.


I’ve had arguments – er – discussions, on here and on FaceBook with pedigree owners about the value or not of breeding endless litters of aristocratic breeds of dogs to ensure the breed standard is ensured. Yeah, right.

In the past, I’ve also seen a couple of English bulldogs who cost a shitload and could hardly breathe. When my preferred boarding kennels were closed and we wanted to go on holiday, I went to one that also bred labradors (we had one at the time, from a rescue shelter before anyone asks). Said breeder had to kick his perfect specimen (the dog) through the door because it couldn’t get through it was so fat, and told us that was what a labrador should look like. This was on our collection visit, I might point out, or we would never have gone on holiday.

As for German Shepherds and hip dysplasia? Our dog must have been the runt of the pack as he had a pretty weak rear end, but never actually suffered from it.

But, the idea that a dog needs to look ‘just so, and have this height, and this colouring and these colour eyes, this bone structure, and a particular weight,’ sounds Nazi-ish to me.

In fact, I rather wonder why there isn’t a standard breed for the owners too? Tall, blond, blue-eyed, rather nice cheek-bones. No physical deformities for goodness sakes. Must keep within the rule book.

And, if you are meant to be called a ridgeback, you should have a ridge on your back. Or you will be killed. I mean culled, a slightly nicer way of saying it, don’t you think?

A Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder interviewed on the programme advocated the culling of healthy ridgeless puppies because breed standards forbid ridgelessness in the breed. The Chairman of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club stated that she considered ridgelessness a genetic fault. The ridge is a genetic trait, the presence of which is claimed to make the dog more prone to suffer from dermoid sinus. The programme mistakenly claims that the ridge itself is a mild form of spina bifida. (See below) One in twenty puppies is born ridgeless. A section of the code of ethics of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club was shown to state that “Ridgeless puppies shall be culled.”

The programme pointed out that selectively bred dogs were in poorer health than mongrels.


I highlighted the Ridgeback example because it hit home to me, as one of my family dogs was a ridgie. But here is the full wiki article on Pedigree Dogs Exposed. Nothing we all didn’t know anyway, but still, maybe a few people weren’t aware that inbreeding causes problems.

Meanwhile, my partner had polio as a kid. Has a curved spine and a limp plus an extremely skinny leg. Not really a perfect specimen? Put him down eh? Of no value. Although he could possibly pass a few agility tests or some working exercises.

As for me? Probably would have survived the first round interrogation as a baby. But when the tonsilitis kicked in and the appendicitis, I think I would have become a waste of space and money. Get rid of her. That’s before I even sprained my ankles, ripped ligaments, and all the rest of it.

The other point of view…

I’ve had so many pedigree owners and breeders telling me what wonderful people they are, and how much they love dogs. Hell, they even give a bit of money to the local shelter, or maybe given them a cast off towel for the shelter dogs. That’s nice isn’t it?

Some of them transport rescue dogs up and down the country (America). I’m not entirely sure why this happens because there must be that many dog shelters nearby that surely you can go and find some bloody homeless unwanted dog without wasting a shitload of fuel driving (or even worse flying) a dog all around the place?

And all these wonderful breeders, who make no money out of it, and just love to have puppies by Princess Mizha of Turkistan sired with King Ebony of Uzbekistan, are just in it for the love of dogs.

Well fine, quit breeding exclusive, expensive, dogs and go down your local shelter if you love them that much. Give some unwanted homeless dogs a future. Instead of creating more problems.

It doesn’t even need to be a boring old mongrel like some of ours. You can still get yourself a fancy pedigree dog.

We are experiencing record numbers of dogs needing to be rehomed, currently averaging over 100 new dogs per month with over 50 in commercial kennels

A breed I’ve not had, but we met someone who was involved with greyhound rescue (you know, send them around a racetrack and bet on them).

Because until someone explains to me, how buying an adorable pedigree puppy with a distinguished lineage from a reputable breeder helps all those dogs on death row, or any of those street dogs, or any dogs at all in any shelter, I will continue to criticise people who reject a shelter dog and pay hundreds for a pedigree.

This is extremely simple. If you buy a pedigree puppy/dog, that is one less dog rescued from a shelter. And, one more dog killed, qv Battersea Dogs’ Home statistic above. In fact, nearly 3,000 killed in 2010, just to be clear if you haven’t remembered.

If you want to go to Crufts, or watch it on your television, great. If you like spectator sport, clear off down to your local rescue shelter and see the dogs huddled in the corner who no-one wants, because they are too old, or not cute enough. Or just, not anything really. Because I have done that, and wanted to home every single dog in the kennels.

But don’t say, I love dogs, and I went to Crufts. Because all you are really doing is supporting Best in Show, or whatever the hell it is called, so someone can charge megabucks for their dog to shag another one and have some frightfully expensive puppies.


1) I have never bought a dog from a breeder

2) My three UK dogs came from rescue shelters

3) My Spanish dog came from the street

Championship Sofa Dog

Championship Sofa Dog

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
This entry was posted in animal rights, animals, dogs, life, pedigree dogs, rescue dogs, vegan and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Crufts – nice doggies and all that

  1. I have just suspended one of my FB accounts and probably won’t use it again because I was being bombarded by images of such appalling cruelty I couldn’t stand it anymore. One poor dog was being held up against a wall by its throat by its owner and then buried up to its neck in the ground. There isn’t a great deal of difference between one type of cruelty and another. The pure breeds at Crufts suffer because of intense breeding and the illnesses and disabilities this causes and the revolting bully who torments and tortures his poor dog perhaps to toughen it up for fighting. Yup, we are a nation of animal lovers. Nothing is done for the comfort and well-being of the animal either. But it’s all for the prestige and gratification of ghastly humans.

    Good post, RSiTM. I agree with everything you say.


    • It was an interesting read. It really is just a total scam. I latched onto the husky one because Pippa is part husky. But at least he is a cross and not a precious pure-bred 🙂 So maybe he will avoid some of those problems (off out for his night time walk right now!)


  2. I hadn’t even finished re-editing because I can never publish without literals these days!
    And there you were, commenting.
    I chucked FB more than a year ago. I didn’t get animal cruelty pix but there were a lot of ‘please home this dog posts’. That caused arguments too. People didn’t want to read about homeless dogs with two minutes to on death row. Nowt I could have done about all of them as they were in America.
    I follow a ‘prevent animal cruelty blog’ which is where the dog tales came from. I don’t like reading it, but I’m not going to bury my head in the sand either. So, from time to time, I might mention animal cruelty, but without the pix. I don’t want to switch people off, I would rather they understand the issues.

    Thanks for your comment. I have a real bottom line with this, and as yet no-one has ever successfully answered it. I am so waiting for the day that someone tells me how buying a £500 pedigree pup helps the ones on death row.


  3. Vicky says:

    Those cruelty stories put the human race to shame:-( The perpetrators should be given the same treatment.

    Dancing dogs? I think you probably know my thoughts on that after my post ‘oh dear’ from May last year.

    I watched the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, a big eye opener to the behind the scenes of dog breeding and the lengths some folk would go to, all to attain the Kennel Club breed standard.

    Yes, Crufts is organised by the Kennel Club, but I have NEVER had any interest at all in the breed side of the show, nor have I ever had any interest in pedigree dogs, so I wouldn’t say that by visiting Crufts I am supporting Best in Show,
    There are plenty of other reasons why folk will visit the show, for me, like the many of the other dog lovers it will be numerous stands selling just about anything dog related from beds, clothing (human and dog) to food and medication.
    There are stands promoting the working bond between man and dog, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, army dogs, dogs for the disabled, guide dogs, hearing dogs etc. here dogs and handlers can chatted with.
    Many rescue centres have stands there too, where it is possible to chat with the rescuers about their work, make donations and purchase gifts and cards towards their funds. I would always make a beeline for the BCTGB where two of my dogs have been adopted from, mainly to take along the latest photos and update them on their latest antics.
    Crufts is a split show, appearing on the surface to be all about breeders and their interbred designer dogs, but there is a lot more to the show that never makes the headlines.
    So I have no worry in the statement ‘I love dogs and I went to Crufts’

    Lovely pic of Champion Sofa Dog 🙂


    • Vicky, those are the tip of the iceberg from a cruelty blog I follow. Not because I get a kick out of it, but because if I am going to write about these issues I need to know what is going on. I could write about horses, or rhinos, or burning tigers. I just picked the most recent dog cruelty incidents for this post. I think these people are utterly sick, incidentally. I don’t care whether they are in Yorkshire or America. At least no-one can accuse me of bias seeing as I included our home county.

      I went back to read your post about Ashleigh and Pudsey. It was a good post.

      I don’t think anything would surprise me these days. Dogs are just used as commodities to me, eg Pudsey. And the same goes for breeding.

      Thanks for pointing out the other side of Crufts – but as your penultimate paragraph says, that’s exactly how it is portrayed. Because even when I watched the BBC coverage, and they would visit some stalls, or speak to other people, I remember thinking ‘but I just want to see the dogs.’

      And that’s the problem. Most people interested in Crufts aren’t like you, with countless rescue dogs, supporting your local dog shelters. It’s a double edged sword too, if you took away the best of breed and best in show, where would the attraction be for people?

      Perhaps one of my other main gripes, apart from the emphasis on perfect breed standard, is the amount of money spent at Crufts, people visiting Crufts and staying overnight, that could be spent on rescue shelters.

      A new category methinks. Best on Sofa?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vicky says:

        I may be wrong, but I would think Sunday would attract a different visitor to the other three days, mainly because of it being the Kennel Club’s Best in Show final day.

        I couldn’t agree more about the folk who travel from far and wide, to show their dogs or to watch the breed show, if they really loved dogs, that money would be far better spent on their local rescue centres.

        I remember the dilemma facing the many small rescue centres, when two big nationally known rescues pulled out after the BBC program.
        Should they follow suit and be seen to be making a stance against the Kennel Clubs manipulation of the breeds, but in doing so risk losing the chance of what was an excellent means of promoting their work, and for some the biggest fund raiser of the year.
        A real catch twenty two situation, for a small concern, whereas the bigger rescues were able to make that stance because they are household names.


        • I don’t know about the Sunday. I’m guessing some people go for the breeds they are interested in, some for best in show, some for general interest, some to watch agility, and some like you, who go for the rarely publicised side.

          I think if they are a small rescues, if it is their biggest fund-raiser, they can’t pull out. Pretty suicidal really. And as I said a lot of the attraction is the show dogs. I wonder how many pedigree owners, or watchers, visit the rescue stalls. Perhaps they do and feel they are doing their good deed for the year?


  4. EllaDee says:

    I slipped away to sip a glass of wine to recover from my IWD rant, then came here… if I could copy and paste my feelings of frustration instead of only words I could replicate them, they’re the same. It’s all about manufactured consumerism and money, and to hell with who or what has to pay the true price.
    If only… Championship Sofa Dog and his humans were the benchmark.


    • I thought your IWD rant was excellent, and actually not at all ranty. It was far more balanced and thoughtful than my original post 😀

      But yes, the money issue and the status and the snobbery is what gets up my nose. Vicky posted the other side of the Crufts story – but that isn’t what attracts people.

      Not so sure about me, but Champ Sofa Dog might be ok as a benchmark, cat chasing excepted. He’s got a far nicer temperament than I have 😀


  5. Cruelty to animals; cruelty to humans; Indifference to life or just plain evil–it’s everywhere.
    What can we do about it? Stand up. Stop the ones you can. Prevent the ones you can. And yes–help the one you see on the street. Win? Forget it; this is about not giving ground. This thing has no end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strangely your blunt and somewhat negative comment gave me some hope and a small sense of optimism. If anyone stands up and helps, that’s something. There is so much indifference around and so many ostriches with their head stuck in the sand (or elsewhere) that to think there are still people who aren’t 100% self-centred brings a smile to my face.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Myself and my ‘better half’ went out to supper last night at a fairly inexpensive chain-restaurant called ‘Boston Pizza’ I had the Mediterranean pizza (and it was excellent) but that very name caused me to reflect on bits of this post. All around me the women were ordering pasta (with chicken) and ALL the men either ordered Burgers, Steak or Ribs. So what? This is Newfoundland and for 500 years (all except the past decade or so) most of our livelihood and almost all of our culture has been based on the sea. Nobody ordered fish! (and almost nobody ordered pizza despite the name of the joint). We certainly seem to the stuck in an industrial-meat mindset, eh? Like I said, holding ground is the most we can hope for sometimes.


  6. Only one pedigree dog in the family since I can remember….chosen very few…most just arrived or were dumped.
    The Alsatian we have now is the exception…the pedigree. Turned down for police work as one ear droops. Balls never descended – luckily atrophied so no cancer risk down the line.
    His breeder was returning to the U.S. and didn’t want to take him as being of no commercial value.
    So here he is, lolling about with the pup who stumped here from goodness knows where and the dog who was dumped on the road when his sterilisation wound site became infected and stinking.

    I detest the use of animals as commerce.


    • Well, two of ours were pedigrees, although both rescues. We were even offered the papers for the first one (a lab pup) which seemed to defeat the object of rescuing a dog with no intention of either registering him with KC or showing him. We didn’t take them. It struck me as slightly amoral though – go and get a cheap pedigree dog from the shelter ..

      I assume our GSD was pedigree (ish) he doesn’t look like a cross at any rate. But he’s been on the street so many times, and he wasn’t carrying any papers with him when we homed him – but who cares?

      For me it’s the hypocrisy that stinks. “I love dogs, – so long as it is an expensive status symbol, I couldn’t possibly touch a street dog.” The laugh is that we’ve actually been offered decent money for Pippa, and asked where we bought him from. Partner takes great pleasure in saying that he came off the street in Spain.


  7. When I read, in roughseas, that there was a dog-related post over here, of course I had to come.

    The comment about getting a cheap purebred from a shelter did remind me: I was once in a shelter (on the visit that got me my first dog) and a man in front of one of the cages was jumping up and down, saying, “I found a Bischon Frise. That’s a purebred Bischon Frise.”

    You’ll never get an answer to your bottom line question because there is no way a £500 pedigree helps a shelter dog — that’s not their purpose. Lately, at US dog shows, they’re started parading out “hero” dogs (assistance dogs, military dogs, dogs who saved someone from a fire) and giving them awards. To placate the critics, I think. It isn’t workng.


    • I realised it was Crufts time, and, thought, although I wasn’t going to write, I just wanted to say about the whole pedigree circus.

      Is Ralph BigDog not the most gorgeous one ever? Does it matter that he is a cross? Of course not. So this obsession with pure-bred expensive dogs looking just-so sends me off the wall when there are so many dogs on death row.

      The Bichon comment struck a different chord. A new person commented on roughseas about IWD – and when I looked up to find her blog (no blog, FB) someone had bought her a Bichon.

      Either people want a dog or they want a designer status symbol. In which case I suggest they buy a handbag.

      But people do claim that their purchase of a pedigree dog does help shelter dogs, because ya know, they give ten pence towards a rescue centre.

      I’ve had people say it on this blog, and I think they are genuinely well-meaning, but at the end of the day, the answer has to be the same. Buying your pedigree dog from wherever does not help a rescue dog at all. Not one tiny bit. And perpetuating the breeds that need to be bought from super duper dealers doesn’t help either.

      Yeah, people will admire those brave dogs. And still go buy a pedigree one from somewhere else. After all, you wouldn’t want second-hand, would you?


  8. bluonthemove says:

    The desire for pedigree dogs is rather akin to the desire for a large 4 x 4 to take the probably not very pedigree brat to school in.

    Many of your readers are in the USA and will know better than I about the increasing numbers of dogs being turfed out on to the streets, not because of callous owners as much as the extreme poverty many people are suffering there and the high levels of homelessness.

    This is also the case with cats; I know this as I support a cat ‘no kill’ shelter in Washington State.

    Lovely to see a pic of Pippa, would be couch potato dog of the year. Certainly he doesn’t get points for regular blogging. If he is wondering, one has to support cats or he’d have no one to chase!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The 4×4 analogy isn’t unfair. We have one for work. It carries an awful lot more gear than a mini metro (I know, we have used that too). But the pedigree brat could really possibly walk or bus? Maybe? OK, maybe not these days.

      The USA seems to be in a bad position. As is half of Europe. And some of them treat their dogs equally badly. As does the UK.

      I’m not sure Pippa will be able to chase cats in USA. Although he’d like to try.


      • bluonthemove says:

        I’ve nothing against 4×4 per se, its when they process in their dozens up Wimbledon Hill to the private schools with parent and one child aboard I get irritated. I even had a 4×4 myself when we were in the computer hardware business, as it was much easier to get these huge tower things in and out of the back, compared with a medium sized estate. In those days a 1 GB SCSI hard disc cost £1,000.

        Soon got us out of that business, so we could concentrate purely on the software side, so after a while the 4×4 was replaced too. I think Pippa would probably chase cats anywhere were he allowed to.


        • Nor do I wish to curtail people’s choice of vehicle, after all that is pretty stalinistic. I just despair when people buy their vehicles according to views of status and prestige. In fact I don’t give a shit what they take the brats to school in, they just shouldn’t be doing it. Take them on the bus or walk them if they can’t do either of those themselves. The school run is one of the biggest evils of modern society.

          I think Pippa would too. 🙂 Although he didn’t see a single one last week, so is hoping for better luck here in Gib.


  9. angryricky says:

    My sister’s miniature Doberman is registered with the AKC. On the other hand, every day I see pictures of locally adoptable dogs on facebook. I think we should never have domesticated animals, personally, but now that we have, I agree with you that we should manage them more effectively, more humanely.

    In human beings, we tend to value partners with different genetic traits; why don’t we chlorinate the dogs’ gene pool as well?


    • But what is the value of registering the dog with the AKC? Seriously?

      I also used to share some FB pix. Not all the time, but just some because I thought people were sticking their heads in the sand. Initially I thought it was worthless, but few people told me that dogs were rehomed from FB. so why not post them? half my readers were American anyway.

      There are so many different ways of looking at how to live with animals. When I see a dog chained up, or ribs and bone and walking down the motorway, or full of ticks, I think that is abusive. All of which I have seen this week. There is no need for that.

      And I would prefer the precious fuckers grooming their award-winning dogs to take more interest in the above than in their big fat pay cheque and trophy for winning Crufts.


  10. “Because until someone explains to me, how buying an adorable pedigree puppy with a distinguished lineage from a reputable breeder helps all those dogs on death row, or any of those street dogs, or any dogs at all in any shelter, I will continue to criticise people who reject a shelter dog and pay hundreds for a pedigree.” – My view entirely. I like ‘best on sofa’. Nearby to where I live they have an event called ‘Scruffs’ with catagories like – ‘best at ignoring any command’ or ‘happiest wagger’, and I still didn’t take my lovely dog to it, she didn’t need to compete in anything to be the best in everything for me. Still, I suppose it’s a way for local dog owners to get together and chat. I’m not interested in that either mind you. I’m off to the shelter again in March.

    – Esme upon the Cloud missing her pooch.


    • This is a very big issue for me. Only today I read something by a Spaniard saying 200,000 dogs a year are abandoned in Spain. Let aone the ones hung from trees (invariable fate for galgos and podencos). I don’t like awards at all. I can see the merit of agility. I was in hysterics during our bedroom redec watching Snowy wriggle under chairs/tables and he often goes under the bed, but that is his choice. I will not compel any animal to do anything. What right have I?

      Liked by 1 person

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