Anyone for Grufts?

The UK's greatest dog show, Crufts, is on once again.

But, unfortunately, you can't get into the show unless you're a platinum-plated pedigree pooch. Exclusive isn't in it.

But is that a good thing?

Not necessarily. There's been a lot of controversy over them there fancy dogs.

The UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) has accused the Kennel Club (organisers of Crufts) of setting such restrictive breeding standards for pedigree dogs that many breeds are becoming unhealthy, bizarre mutants.

For example, it appears that some Pekingese dogs are now bred with such flat faces they can barely breathe. And pedigree German Shepherds have weak back legs that prompted one critic to call them, 'half dog, half frog'.

The storm of criticism that ensued has resulted in the BBC dropping it's television coverage of the show, Spillers pet foods, a major sponsor, pulling out, and a number of other animal welfare organisations voicing their concerns too.

All in all, you're probably better off with a mongrel mutt, filled with hybrid vigour.

And now we mongrel owners have our own online dog show - Grufts - run by the UK's Guardian newspaper. Just enter photographs of your dog and you could win awards in:
  • Most stylish
  • Most talented
  • Most loveable
  • Most heroic
  • Best Lookalike (your hound can bear an uncanny resemblance to yourself, a famous dog or, indeed, a celebrity)
  • Best-travelled (your picture, Photoshopped or otherwise, should show your dog in an exotic location).
Entry is free and you retain copyright (important ... always check that with competitions). There are no prizes, as far as I can see, but if you win your hound will get the honour of Best in Show, and maybe an appearance in a UK national newspaper.

Jess will be there.

Update 12/03/2009

Jess wasn't even in the running. Nowhere close. The winner was Tosca - not the sort of dog you'd want to meet on a dark night. Or even in broad daylight. But his story is amazing and turns everything around. Read it, consider what what humans can do, and see him, here.

Only one small thing has me wondering. Could his owners have taken a more flattering photograph of him? Or were they deliberately trying to make him look bizarre?


Livia said...

Jess is bound to win!

Alistair Scott said...

She wasn't even in the running. :-(

The dog that won is ugly. And the photograph illustrating him isn't too hot, either. Over-exposed in the crucial bits (his face) with a busy busy background.

But ... hey ... this wasn't a photo contest. Nor a beauty one. Read his story. It's amazing. After what he'd been through and his reaction, he deserved to win.

Well done Tosca!

Only thing is, why did your new owners put that silly devil costume on you? Did it add anything?

And many of the other dogs, as well. Excuse me while I reach for the vomit bag. The number that were dressed up in silly clothes sickened me. Why do it?

J Terry said...

He's not ugly, you cheeky bugger!

The photo taken was on Halloween 2008 using a Sony Ericsson mobile - just a standard 'snap'.

We only heard about Grufts on the closing night so just simply uploaded a couple of pics that were lying on the desktop. Had we known he was in with a chance then we'd have used better ones!

Tosca, and us, are chuffed to bits with winning this. It's a real 'two fingers' to those who treat him so badly and thought him worthless.

He's now the pride of the local pub and enjoy complimentary bowls of guinness from the patrons. And additionally, he's helped to raise money for his chosen charity.

All in all, a good result.

Regards, Jon

PS. Your dog is very cute :)

Alistair Scott said...

Ooops ... sorry Jon. My blog has a wider readership than I realised!

I take it back. But, I think you'll agree that, in this case, beauty tends to be just a teeny-weeny bit in the eye of the beholder.

Not that it matters. Your story is deeply touching. It never ceases to amaze me how people mistreat dogs, and how faithful they remain in spite of it all. There's a lesson for us humans in there, if we could learn it.

All credit to you for the rescue, and congratulations on a well-deserved win. The moment I saw Tosca in the line-up I said to myself - "He's the winner." Deservedly so.

And thanks for the comment about Jess. We picked her up for 50 Swiss Francs from a peasant farmer out in the sticks. She was in a litter of 7 and the farmer did away with 5 at birth. Best dog we've ever had. Amazingly intelligent (though I say so myself).

Congratulations again and hope Tosca's enjoying his well-earned Guinness.