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I have never been to Crufts mainly because I am in two minds about the whole show business side of dog breeding and also because it's a bit of a trek to get to Birmingham from the South Coast.

However, I fear it's the only time I'll ever be able to see a whole load of Setters of all different shapes and sizes in one place.

So I've been looking at dates and have noticed that the gundogs are lined up for Sat 9th March which is nice because I won't need to take time off work and the hubby will be able to look after the Peril. 

Is anyone here thinking of attending the show? And what are the general recommendations for newcomers to dog shows? Are all the Setter breeds kept in one area? Are breeders/exhibitors happy to let you interact with their dogs and ask questions?


Any thoughts and suggestions will be much appreciated.


Best, KC

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Thanks KC and Errol would be nice to meet up (",)

We're entering Bella, which will be the first time for me. Happy to say hello after our class but will need brandy, time and space before it. Will there be another get together this year?

Have you thought of going by train? The NEC ( or whatever it's called these days) is served brilliantly by Birmingham International railway station. You just get off the train and follow the crowds the short way to the halls.

I may be going as we have family who live very close by and who are keen to take us, having visited for the first time last year. Apparently it's very disconcerting to walk into a room full of the same breed of dog!

Hi Jane, I've done it by train to and it so efficient.  Enjoy the day.

Sue i dont need asking twice if there is a chance to cuddle two lovely setters (",)

Ah Sue, that's really lovely.   You've just proved me right,, I'd just blogged that setter people are really friendly.

Hope you have a good day out.



I am going to attend Crufts for the first time too. We are new to breeding and showing although will not be showing ours this year but maybe and fingers crossed we might eventually get there.

Looking forward to meeting other Setter owners and their dogs.

My problem will be the cost because if I let on to the kids they will all want to come i can see this turning into a very expensive trip.

I have been to Crufts a few years now & I absolutely love it. I love looking at the dogs & watching the judging but best of all I enjoy buying JD lots of lovely things. I agree with what has been said about comfy clothes & a packed lunch, I usually go back to the car to eat so i can drop off any shopping. I hope I get to meet you Sue and your dogs as you have been very helpful to me in the past when I have asked questions about setters & Jack Russells

Just to give a general idea of the setup - and I'm no expert, just visited half a dozen times - throughout the core of the five halls are shops. Tatty general market stalls, animal experts, insurance, charities, human and canine clothing, lead, toys and food - hundreds of them. Round the outer wall of the halls are bars, cafes and human and canine toilets. In between are the benches and rings.

The setters are all in the same area with some other gundogs, each breed with its own rings. The Irish Setter rings are about the size of a tennis court, bitches one side and dogs the other of the imaginary net, each with their own judge. Off to one side of the ring  is the benching, raised platforms divided off by panels into open fronted cells with numbers above which relate to the owner's alphabetical entry information in the catalogue. The entered dogs are attached by a special chain to a loop at the back of their bench - its a long day for them as they can't leave till late in the afternoon except for exercise, toilet breaks or their time in the ring.

The class procedure consists of the dogs running, standing and being felt by the judge. The winners of each class, if not beaten in another class, line up at the end of the breed judging and the best bitch / dog and best puppy of each sex are selected. The Best Dog and Bitch are awarded CCs and from those four the Best of Breed and Best Puppy are chosen.

Crufts is unusually social for a dog show as, for many from around the world, its an annual reunion with expert breeders and exhibitors coming over for the event. Also its a time when the dog loving public come to see the breeds close up and ask questions - there's a special area outside of the showrings for this too.

I've learned over the years not to impulse buy anything large or weighty as its a long trek back to the (£10) carpark with two mattresses, a rug or two and a sack of dogfood. Its a good opportunity to feel, ask, compare and take website information though.

Thanks Mel - I was taking it as obvious that the best of the UK breeders and exhibitors would be there!  I also didn't mention that dogs can't just enter Crufts, they have to have qualified at certain shows first.

I'm going just to look around but hopefully next year I'll be there with my own dog Rigsby.  My aim is to get him qualified this year.  it's a lot of fun but you can get carried away with the credit card!

I'm really looking forward to attending crufts this year as I've never been before cant wait to see all the irish,Gordon,English, and although I wouldn't change Clio for the world she's a real daddy's girl looking forward to seeing a red and white setter as I've never seen one in the flesh so to speak. My only concern is a friend of mine son has shown a desire to come he's only 8 but loves dogs and is a really well behaved child is crufts child friendly like it looks on tv when they are doing speedball and agility any help appreciated cheers dean




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