A dog jumping over an obstacle at Crufts
A dog jumping over an obstacle at Crufts

Competing at Crufts for the first time

Entries for Crufts 2024 are now open. BASC organises the the gamekeeper classes, which run on Gundog Day, Friday 8 March, in Hall 5.

As well as the breed classes for working dogs and gamekeepers’ dogs, BASC classes include gamekeeper teams and working gundog teams, plus our ever-popular young handler classes who get their chance to show dogs that have worked throughout the season.

Entry to the classes is restricted to gundogs that have worked on shoots throughout the season on a regular basis.

Competing at Crufts is the pinnacle in the dog show world. The BASC gamekeeper classes are a chance to showcase working gundogs in their prime to an audience who may not be aware of the great work they do.

What to expect from competing at Crufts

Taking part in Crufts, particularly for the first time, is a very exciting experience and there is no need to feel intimidated by the day.

Here are a few tips on registering and getting ready for Crufts:

1. Read through the schedule and entry form and fill in the sections relevant to you. If you have any questions, please call us on 01244 573 019.

2. Once the forms are completed, send them into Crufts before the deadline (8 January postmark for postal entries and midnight on 22 January for online entries). We strongly recommend completing these in good time in case of any issues.

3. Once you have registered with Crufts you will receive a registration number through the post for each dog you have entered, plus your tickets.

4. If you are hoping to stay overnight at the event, be sure to book your room as soon as possible as hotels near to Crufts get filled very quickly. Remember to ask if they are dog-friendly.

5. When your day at Crufts arrives it will be a busy one and the traffic around the area can be quite heavy. Ensure you leave your home/hotel in good time and get there early. Be aware that the walk from the car parks to the NEC can be quite a distance so factor in this time with your plans. Walking into Crufts with your dog for the first time will suddenly give you a real buzz and you’ll wonder why you didn’t enter before.

5. Make sure you check which bench you have been allocated and the hall you need to be in. Head for this first and use your bench as a base for the day.

6. Once you’re settled in, make yourself familiar with the area. Find out where the toilets, exits, and restaurants are. But, most importantly where your specific show ring is.

7. Check your class times again and in the ring in which they’re being held. Class times will be available on the BASC website and will be displayed at the edge of the rings throughout the day.

8. If you have entered several classes or have entered several dogs, check that there are no overlaps with the separate classes. We try to arrange the the ring timings to prevent this, but unfortunately sometimes there is no option other than to have the odd class overlap slightly, so you may need to make arrangements to address this, if possible.

9. If you are entering dogs in more than one breed class, you will need to establish which rings you need to be at for each event. Allow yourself 10 minutes to get to the correct ring. It can become crowded during the day and moving around the halls can take a while.

10. Ring stewards will be walking around before each class so ensure that your dog’s registration number is on display to help the stewards direct you into the ring. They will also be on hand to explain to you what the judge wishes to see.

11. When it’s your turn to go in you will be asked to lead your dog around the ring then the judge will physically inspect your dog. After all the dogs in the class have been judged, a shortlist will be chosen and the top five dogs will be individually placed from first to ‘Very Highly Commended’. If you are lucky enough to win your class, you will be asked to come back after classes have finished to be presented with your trophy.

Winners of the gamekeeper-only classes will go to the main arena at the end of the day and be judged for the gamekeeper classes best in show. The winner of this title will take home the Northesk Memorial Trophy.

12. During the lunchtime slot, there will be a gundog display in the gamekeeper rings.

13. Be aware that once you’re in, no exhibitor is allowed to leave site earlier than 4pm. It can be very busy trying to exit the NEC at this point and it may be beneficial to wait until later on before leaving.

For more details on the history of the gamekeeper rings at Crufts, and all the information you need on how to enter this year, click here.

The Skinner's logo
The BASC Gundog Program is kindly sponsored by Skinner's

Header image by Nigel Kirby