Crufts 2022

Crufts 2022

March 09, 2022

Crufts, also known as the World's Greatest Dog Show.

And who could disagree with that?

Dog lovers around the world will be happy to see the return of Crufts after its cancellation last year due to the pandemic. The Kennel Club, organisers of the show since 1948, has announced over 16,000 entries from all over the world. The show will be held at the NEC in Birmingham from 10th–13th March.

Crufts celebrates everything that is fabulous about our canine friends. You will see some of the best trained dogs in the world. From agility to flyball, from rally to obedience, there is something for everybody and every dog. It is the show for dog lovers.   

The show was started way back in the Victorian Era by a self-confessed showman, Charles Cruft. Initially, Cruft went into the family jewellery business, but it wasn't for him and he soon transferred as an office boy to a dog biscuit company called Spratts. Promotion to travelling salesman brought him into contact with sporting kennels and large estates.

He was soon travelling in Europe where, in 1878, he was invited to promote the canine section of the Paris Exhibition. It was in 1886 that the Duchess of Newcastle asked Cruft to stage a dog show for terriers. By 1891, with the addition of other breeds, the first Crufts Dog Show took place at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, London, with 2437 entries. Since then, it has continued to evolve and grow into the world's best loved dog show.

How Dogs Qualify for Crufts

Crufts is not an open competition, so the dogs have to qualify throughout the previous year. There are a number of ways to qualify for the breed classes, but most have obtained a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in Kennel Club affiliated Championship shows. They can also qualify through open or general shows where they have achieved Best in Show, Reserve Best in Show or Best Puppy.                                               

At Crufts, the dogs start by competing against others of the same breed divided into the following classes, Veteran, Special Puppy, Special Junior, Yearling, Post Graduate, Mid Limit, Limit and Open. An award is given for one dog and one bitch in each category which then compete for the Challenge Certificate (CC). The two winners then challenge each other for Best of Breed. After the best of each breed is chosen, they then compete against others in their group. In the UK there are seven groups, Gundogs, Hounds, Pastoral, Terriers, Toys, Utility and Working. Once the best of each group is chosen (Best in Group) each one goes on to compete for Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show.

Daily Schedule

Each day features specific dog groups and breeds, culminating in the Best in Show on Sunday.

The breed competitions will take place on the following days

Thursday March 10th – Working and Pastoral

Friday March 11th – Terrier and Hound

Saturday March 12th – Utility and Toy

Sunday March 13th – Gundog

Although the dog shows are central to Crufts, it also includes other exciting competitions and displays and over 550 trade stands.

These are just a few of the great competitions you can see throughout the four days.


This fast and furious activity was first introduced in 1978. Dogs are timed while they navigate their way round a course. They are expected to jump over, run through and weave in and out of various obstacles. This not only tests the dog's fitness and obedience but also the handler's ability to control the dog round the course.


One of the most popular events at Crufts, high-energy and very loud. The course consists of four jumps, each 10 feet apart. The dogs race down the course, pick up the ball and race back. Two teams race simultaneously with four dogs each. The team with their fourth dog back first wins.

Heelwork to Music (HTM)

This a great activity which allows the dogs to work on their obedience and have loads of fun at the same time. It is divided into two parts, Heelwork to Music and Freestyle. Mary Ray, a well-known leader in the dog world, first demonstrated this at Crufts in the early 1990's and it became an official competition in 2005. In Heelwork to Music the dog must walk or trot to heel in any of eight specific positions for at least two-thirds of the routine. This is set to music of the handler's choice and can last up to 4 minutes. With Freestyle the handler only has to work the dog at heel for 35% of the time. The rest of the routine is made up of moves that reflect the timing, rhythm and phrasing of the music.


Here the handler and dog work together as a team to complete a series of exercises as accurately as possible. There are three obedience competitions which take place over the four days of the show.

  • Inter-regional rally followed by obreedience competition
  • Inter-regional obedience
  • Obedience for bitches and obedience for dogs

The obreedience competition is a team event. Four handlers and four dogs of the same breed take part in two rounds of exercises. Heelwork is performed as a group and this is followed by four set exercises including a 'retrieve', a 'send to bed', 'commanding the dog to stop' and a 'scent exercise'.


Although this is one of the newer activities at Crufts, it is one of the fastest growing activities in the UK. The heelwork elements are based on those found in Competitive Obedience. But it differs in that handler and dog follow a pre-set course with up to 18 stations or signs requiring them to perform certain exercises. These signs are all the competitors receive, there is no guidance from the judge.

In addition to these competitions, you can also see the prestigious Kennel Club Dog Hero Award which recognises unsung canine heroes. And don't forget the celebration of our gorgeous crossbreeds in the Scruffts competition. At the Discovery Dogs area, you will be able to meet and greet different breeds and learn more about them. The West Midlands Police Dog team and the Medical Detection Dogs are just two of the amazing displays you can catch throughout the four days.

At the trade stands you'll find anything and everything to do with your favourite canine friends. From dog food to canine massage. From pet portraits to guide dogs. From clothing to insurance. Whatever you're looking for you'll find it at Crufts.

How to Watch Crufts

You can watch Crufts daily on More4 and Channel 4. Catch the Kennel Club podcasts where you can find interviews with some of the competitors. And, of course, you can follow on the social media channels, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Twitter, or Crufts own channel on YouTube. For more detailed information on the daily timetable check with Crufts own website here.