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Crufts Enters the Electronic Age

December 22, 2010, 1 p.m., EDT


Boy with a St. Bernard at Crufts in 1956
Boy with a S. Bernard at Crufts in 1956.
More than 120 years’ worth of fascinating facts, figures and information about Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, is available online for the first time ever. The Kennel Club’s unique archive of Crufts Championship Show Catalogues can now be viewed and downloaded, making it easily accessible to a worldwide audience.

From Charles Cruft’s original Great Terrier Show, which took place in 1886, and the first all-breed show held under the Cruft’s name five years later, all the way up to 2007, the Crufts Championship Show Catalogues offer a remarkable insight into how the world's largest and best-known dog show has changed and evolved through the decades. It also helps to chart the popularity of the different breeds over time.

The catalogues are in PDF format and have optical character recognition, so they are fully searchable online and can be easily saved and printed out for use offline as well. This allows users to be able to trace either people or dogs who have participated in the show more easily than ever before.

Early Days

The six-page booklet detailing the classes and prizes on offer at the Great Terrier Show, which took place at the long-since-demolished Royal Aquarium in London, is the first of more than 100 Crufts Championship Show Catalogues, revealing the very beginnings of the now world-famous event.

There are some fascinating insights into the world of dogs at that stage, too. The booklet from the 1886 Great Terrier Show actually lists the Show Manager as "Mr Chas. Cruft.” The show was sponsored by Cruft’s employer at the time, Spratts biscuits, and the front cover states that the entered dogs will be "fed on their meat fibrine dog cakes (with beetroot).”

Among the intriguing snippets inside are the details of special arrangements made by the London & North Western and Midland Railways to convey dogs in special vans on their train services to London from major cities such as Leeds and Liverpool, and even from as far away as Carlisle, up near the Scottish border.

Unique Archive

The historic collection of Crufts catalogues are amongst the most popular and frequently used collections in the Kennel Club Library* and attract interest from researchers worldwide. They have been digitized to allow wider access and also to preserve the condition of the originals, which can still be viewed at the Kennel Club’s library in London.

*The Kennel Club Library, based near Piccadilly in the center of London, is Europe’s largest canine-specialist library and visitors are very welcome. Details of the collections and services, including the Crufts catalogues, can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/library.



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