From Pugs to Great Danes, Retrievers to Shih Tzus, hundreds of dogs, dog owners and lovers will take part in the world’s largest dog show next week at the NEC in Birmingham. Now in its 129th year, Crufts will see in the region of 27,000 dogs (from 220 different breeds) over its four days and ticket turnstiles are reported to top those of Glastonbury Festival. A whopping 20,631 of these dogs will have traveled to the NEC from 44 different countries.
Here are some top barking mad facts about the Best in Show:
1. Crufts started in 1891, founded by dog biscuit salesman Charles Cruft. It was named 'First Great Terrier Show'. Five years on, it was renamed 'Crufts Greatest Dog Show' and was opened up to all breeds.
2. The first breed to win Best in Show was won by a Greyhound.
3. In 1998 they worked out that 55 stone of dog fur would need to be cleared from the NEC based show.
4. In 2010 a streaker interrupted the judging of the gundog group. He ran around with 'i streak.com' tatooed onto his body!
5. Hundreds of crossbreeds take part, there are numerous competitions suiting all types of dogs. Agility, flyball, obedience, heelwork, music, Scuffts (a show for crossbreeds) and Friends for Life...to name but a few.
6. The well known Cocker Spaniel has won the most Best in Show titles, with seven wins, followed shortly by the Irish Setter, Poodle and Welsh Terrier which have won on four occasions each.
7. Crufts takes over more than 25 acres of the NEC in Birminham. The includes five halls, and the Resorts World Area.
8. The number of people that volunteer at this well known event is 5,041.
9. Top breeds that enter are: Working: Siberian Husky - 184. Pastoral: Border Collie - 303. Terrier: Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 341. Hound: Whippet - 388. Toy: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - 286. Utility: Bulldog - 235. Gundog: Labrador Retriever - 543.
10. The youngest breed to win Best in Show was a Bulldog, aged one year and three months, in 1952.
11. The oldest breed to win Best in Show was a flat coated Retriever, Jet, aged nine years and seven months, in 2011.
12. The star of the 1948 show - a Leonberger German Mountain Dog - was bought from a farmer in Austria by a British soldier passing in a tank for 10 bars of soap.
If you're unable to watch Crufts in person, you can tune into 15 hours of TV coverage when Crufts returns to Channel 4 and More4....first live broadcast by host Clare Balding will be on Thursday 5th March at 3pm on Channel 4.