Highlights From the 2020 Crufts Dog Show

As a professional who shares our commitment to successful breeding practices, you want to stay on top of events that showcase the best of the best. And we’re here to help you do it.

The Embark team recently attended the 129th world-renowned Crufts Dog Show, sponsored by the UK Kennel Club, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England. We were joined by over 20,000 competitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors and breeders from 47 countries, all excited to see the many conformation  and performance winners, and learn how to turn their promising young dogs into the next champions: healthy dogs with ideal breed characteristics, athleticism, talent and solid temperaments.

International breeders were especially eager to embrace Embark to help incorporate genetic testing into their sophisticated breeding programs . While we already provide DNA testing internationally, many UK breeders suggested we work with the Kennel Club to add Embark as an accredited laboratory—and we are actively working with the KC on that. UK breeders, please stay tuned.

Here are a few highlights from Crufts, plus insights that may be useful for your breed program:

Wide array of competitions

The Crufts Dog Show includes an impressive variety of dog activities, from obedience, rally and agility to heelwork, working gundogs and flyball. Many events were  held in the main arena, amid much fanfare and excitement.  

Our takeaway: While many of these activities are similar to their American counterparts, there are distinct differences. Obedience, for example, has more varied patterns and more stringent requirements, and features an inter-regional team championship, plus separate obedience championships for dogs and bitches. 

Educational demonstrations 

The Kennel Club held multiple public educational presentations (and then there was the shopping….so much shopping!)  Here’s just a sampling of the demonstrations we attended:

  • Discover Dogs: a massive presentation of breeds on public display allowing visitors to meet breeds ‘paws on’. 
  • Education on nutrition, training and dog care services
  • Presentations and competitions involving the  Young Kennel Club program
  • A demonstration of medical detection dogs, RAF dogs and search & rescue dogs
  • And Scruffs!, a crossbreed competition

Our takeaway: Some UK dog breeds vary in type, size, shape and behavior from their American counterparts—as we noted by the delightful steam of dogs passing by the Embark stand. These variations and population distinctions help  our scientists better understand the biology, evolution and development of these remarkable dogs

Insightful discussions

Over the 4-day event, the Embark team spoke with a  variety of International breeders, many of whom describe themselves as ‘pet owner’ competitors who delight in showing their dogs: (we noted  fewer professional handlers than their US competitors.) Yet they all share our commitment to breed health and diversity.

Our takeaway:  Breeders throughout the UK and Europe are excited about the opportunities presented by genetic testing; they recognize the need for more education, and support canine genetic research.

As the global leader in dog DNA testing and research, Embark is committed to making it easy for international breed clubs to partner with us and the US breeder community—and events like the Crufts Dog Show deepen our resolve. We can offer cost-effective international shipping on kits for large group orders. And we will continue to freely share research into new genetic discoveries. Together, we’ll improve the health and vitality of purebred dogs throughout the world.

Couldn’t make it to Crufts this year? Check out  all the excitement of the Agility Championship—and see who won Best in Show!

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