MORE THAN 21,500 dogs are entered at Crufts this year, the highest since 2010 when the total was 21,947.
This year’s entry of 21,564 dogs, including the Obedience Championships and gamekeepers’ classes – but not the Agility Championships which have another 50 dogs – is an increase of nearly five per cent on 2013’s figure of 20,566.
From 2006 to ‘09 the number of dogs exceeded 22,000. Before that the only year with more than 22,000 was 1991, the centenary show which drew a world record 22,991 dogs.
As ever, the event has a true international flavour with 2,663 dogs competing from overseas, compared to 2,131 in ‘13, an increase of 25 per cent. Dogs from a total of 48 overseas countries will take part in the show compared to 41 last year, including Bermuda, Japan, Taiwan and Israel.
Unlike last year when Labradors led the field, top breed in ‘14 is the Golden Retriever where Janet Barrow and Lynn Hennessy have 298 males and 301 bitches making a total of 599 dogs.
Labradors have 548 dogs and other gundog breeds with more than 200 are Irish Setters 376, Flat-coated Retrievers 374, Cocker Spaniels 366, Pointers 237 and English Setters 204.
Boxers head the working group with 222, followed by Bernese Mountain Dogs 211 and Rottweilers 204.
In the pastoral breeds Bearded Collies have 316, Border Collies 301, Shetland Sheepdogs 278 and Rough Collies 231.
Staffords head the terriers with 367 while Borders have 303, the top entry for a breed with one judge, Melanie Lewis.
In hounds, Whippets have 417, Afghans 252, Beagles 222, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks 221.
Cavaliers lead the toys with 335, Longcoat Chihuahuas 260, Pugs 256, Papillons 246 and Chinese Crested 208,
The utility breeds are headed by Bulldogs with 247, Tibetan Terriers 215, French Bulldogs 202 and Dalmatians 200.
Eurasiers have 41 dogs entered on their debut with breed classes, and Catalan Sheepdogs 29.
Foxhounds have the lowest entry, six dogs, though as usual there are no entries for Kuvasz which are still scheduled. Turkish Kangal Dogs have their own classification for the first time, drawing eight dogs while those still classified as Anatolian Shepherds have seven.
The any variety imported register classes, for breeds currently on the imported register and who were not qualified previously to compete at Crufts, will compete for the second year, and have attracted 137 dogs.
"Crufts continues to grow in size and popularity, as the number of dogs entered into this year’s event is five per cent up on last year,” said KC secretary Caroline Kisko. "The fact that dogs come in their tens of thousands to Crufts is testament to the immense popularity of the event, and we thank everybody in the UK and overseas for their continued passion for this esteemed event and its many world-class competitions.
"We also look forward to welcoming thousands of other dogs and their owners who make Crufts such a wonderful event, from those who take part in the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme and Young Kennel Club rings and the numerous displays to our Friends for Life and Scruffts finals and those dogs in the Discover Dogs area, which help visitors to understand more about the different breeds.”