I was super lucky this year and managed to get invited by a friend to visit Crufts! Never having been before and always been an avid watcher on TV I was super excited. We opted to take the train down Thursday morning and stay until Saturday afternoon.
As most of you know Crufts is held at the NEC Birmingham and is quite an easy train journey to and from London, around an hour and 45 minutes. Here are my top tips for newbies, things to miss and things to enjoy!
1. Pack Light & Be Comfy
As tempting as it might be to dress up for such an occasion, it's not worth it. Wear practical shoes and dress light, the cloakroom is packed and it can get really busy towards the weekend. You'll easily be standing or walking from morning to evening.
2. Be aware of where to eat & bring snacks
Of course, it gets busy & that means food vendors too. If you can bring snacks please do, especially with kids! Drinks inside are really expensive, bottles of water going up to around £2.50 a bottle! There are little places to fill up so be wary of how hot it can get inside.
3. Be Sensible & Always ask
There are plenty of dogs to see at Crufts, most likely the Discover Dogs section but there are also Press pups, dogs on display and those to and from the competition. We found this the most overwhelming, people will just up and touch your dog. We get it, we're all dog lovers but this becomes tiresome after the 40th time and the dogs get pretty tired too.
4. Nab some deals
Most vendors are prepared for Crufts, offering specialist deals and free goodies and samples. This can get heavy! But it's a great place to get almost anything for your dog, including blankets, beds, foods and toys! Get dug in and if need be it's worth leaving your stuff in the car at a half hour lunch break!
5. Advice & Breeds
This is the ideal place to find a puppy, talk to breeders, get to know your breeds but also ask advice! There are tons of grooming shops, which I popped over to view and peruse the latest technology including the first electric hair stripper for wire-haired dogs! If in it for the big spend, you can even purchase dog baths and specialist grooming equipment.
6. Don't try and see everything & every ring!
It's huge, absolutely massive, make sure to hit up Discover Dogs early and when its quiet, it begins to get really crowded and just a bit of a mare. Nab deals and bargains at the end of the day but get goodie bags & samples early! Head to the Eukanuba & Crufts Registration stands to get a catalogue with full maps! This will save your life.
Overall enjoy all the crazy breeds you don't see everyday, have all the cuddles you can fit in and have a great time!