In the UK alone, there are 57,000 dog shows every year. Show Dogs: The Road to Crufts documents the lives of several dogs and their owners in the weeks leading up to the biggest show in the world: Crufts. The event is organised by The Kennel Club and it sets the standard for each dog breed.
The film starts with two black toy poodles on top of each other trying to mate. An experienced dog breeder holds the male poodle in the correct position, pushing him gently – “good boy Buddy, good boy Buddy.” The expectations are high – “his father was a champion, we are hoping that something really special will come out from this combination.”
Coveting that Best in Show title isn’t the only thing these owners have in common. Preparing their dogs for presentation is a fulltime job. There’s married couple Paul and Nikki, who argue constantly about their bull terriers; teenager James, whose self esteem has improved in training his whippet Dave; retired stewardess Linda, whose Jack Russell Dotty narrowly escaped being put down only to become an agility champion; and Hazel, who suffers from an incapacitating disease, but with the help of her son and her granddaughter, has yet to miss a show.
Director James Newton captures the emotions of winners past and (possibly) future, with Lesley, whose toy poodle won Best in Show in 1982, claiming the moment was right up there with getting married, while James’ mother is more pragmatic: “This is where your dreams come true or where you realise your dreams will have to live a little bit longer.”
Show Dogs: The Road to Crufts by James Newton
Illustrations by Mr Bingo
Soundtrack by Chris White
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