A Scruff Goes to Crufts

Well, at last, the Kennel Club has finally recognised me as a superior sort of chap and, this year, I was invited to Crufts. What took you so long KC? Best in Show: yes, I do believe I am!

‘I don’t want you to feel intimidated by all the posh dogs with quadrupled-barrelled Kennel Club names that we’ll meet,’ Jane told me as our train to the Birmingham NEC chugged through the Home Counties. What nonsense she talks. Intimidated: me? If anyone’s going to feel intimidated it will be the posh dogs – when they see a fine fellow like me strutting around they will throw all the Crufts rosettes they have ever won in the bin, realising that breeding counts for nothing compared to a head that doesn’t match one’s body, a short stump of a tail and irregular markings resembling abstract art. There’s no breeder in all the land who could create a dog like me – Abstract Attlee – even if they spent a century in the attempt.

When we arrived, using the entrance reserved for special dogs – for, according to my ticket, that is what I am – I barked to herald to all the hoity-toity hounds that I was in town.Then I lifted my leg, to underline the fact. (Our friend Basil from www.barkarama.co.uk went one better than this but on that I’ll say no more.)

Then I whizzed past all the posh pups, head held high and stumpy tail a-wagging, as I had an appointment with Caroline Kisco – Kennel Club Secretary, no less – who, hearing I would be gracing Crufts with my presence, wanted to meet me. Very impressed by my pedigree she was too, telling me: ‘The Kennel Club isn’t just Crufts – we work with lots of dog charities including our own breed rescues. And we have Scruffts, our competition for crossbreeds, which is being judged here today.’

Hmmm, a bit less of the Scruff please Caroline – I am a very smart sort of cove. Although Jane and I did take a wander over to where the Scruffts competitors had gathered for a photo-shoot for a nose.

‘Is that Blaze?’ a television cameraman asked when he spotted me, mistaking me for one of the candidates.

‘No I am not,’ I barked straight back at him. Doesn’t he recognise Phileas Dogg when he sees him?

Scruffts.Finalist.GracieI did have rather a pleasant chat with Gracie, though, who’d won the Scruffts heat for Golden Oldie. And, I heard later, she went on to win the Scruffts overall crown. Good girl Gracie – those tips I gave you for working the camera paid off, then. 

Still, that was enough scruff for me – I wanted to see how the other half lived so I visited the Samsung stand, where there was a kennel worth £20,000. That is the sort of money that boggles a little dog’s brain!

The kennel was the oddest construction I’d ever seen – bright white, like an igloo which one of my Husky chums might inhabit, with a sleeping area, a living area and a garden with a treadmill and a hot tub in it. A treadmill for dog’s sake – I get all the exercise I require chasing squizzels in the park!

Samsung.KennelNo, much as the Dream Doghouse might have had all the mod cons, like a self-service food dispenser operated at the push of a paw, a television, and a button with which I could request room service, it was not for me. I am much happier on Jane’s second hand sofa thank you very much and I can request room service whenever I require it simply by barking at her.

Anyway, I had much bigger fish to fry for I was to have my turn in the Crufts show ring where Meg Purnell-Carpenter, a Crufts judge of 30-years standing, was preparing to hand me the rosette for Best in Show.

But what a disaster – when Meg asked Jane and me to walk around, special dog and handler style, Jane really let me down. There was I: larking around; pulling and biting on my lead; performing a Pagan dance – totally owning the ring with my freestyle display in fact – when Jane hissed at me that I was being naughty. Being naughty – I was throwing some shapes to impress Meg!

‘Stop showing off,’ Jane hissed. Showing off – I was at a dog show! What was I supposed to do but show off? In response to Jane’s unfair criticism I added a final flourish to my display, leaping up at Jane, biting the pocket of her dress and ripping it. Encore please, the crowd roared!

Andy Biggar Photography Crufts 2015 (1 of 8)

‘He’s a bit naughty,’ Meg frowned. Naughty – I’m a free spirit….

Then: ‘He’s a very clever little dog because he has you totally under control,’ she told Jane. Clever – that’s more like it!

So, was I in with a bark at Best in Show?

‘He’s got a classic terrier face, lovely eyes, excellent teeth and he’s in fine muscular condition. With a little dog like this, it’s all about movement and he moves soundly. And he’s bright – very alert,’ Meg said.

That’s 100 points for me then!

‘So,’ Jane asked, ‘if there was a category at Crufts for Heinz 57 dogs, Attlee would win?’

‘Oh yes,’ Meg said but she was interrupted by the owner of a dog she’d judged in the ring asking earlier what breed of dog I was.

‘This is Attlee and he’s a chimney hound,’ Meg smiled, winking at Jane and me. A chimney hound – so that’s what I am? I like the sound of it.


Oddly, though, Meg didn’t actually hand me the Best in Show trophy.

‘Don’t worry Attlee,’ Jane said. ‘You’ll always be best in show to me.’











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