Crufts, one of the largest dog events in the world, is renowned for its grand parades of pedigree pooches. This year, however, The Kennel Club event comes with a twist. Although crossbreeds have featured in the show before in activities such as agility and flyball, the 2013 Crufts will be the first time the event hosts a grand final of a crossbreed only competition.

The Kennel Club has previously been at the centre of controversy, most notably in 2008 when a BBC documentary revealed that the promotion of certain breed characteristics at Crufts was leading owners to breed dogs with unhealthy exaggerated features, focusing on the dog’s appearance rather than their wellbeing. Consequently dogs were bred with breathing problems, inherited diseases and skulls too small for their brains.

Both The Dogs Trust and the RSPCA pulled out of the show after the airing of the documentary, and the BBC halted its 42-year run of covering the show. The Kennel Club reacted with compulsory veterinary checks and amendments to the lists of breed characteristics, altering those that could cause health difficulties.

Campaigners have welcomed the news of the ‘Scruffts’ final accepting that it is a step in the right direction. The winners of the four categories – Child’s Best Friend, Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch, Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog, and Golden Oldie – will be battling it out for the title of Scruffts Family Crossbreed of the Year. “We’re very much looking forward to seeing the four class winners come to Crufts for the final,” Secretary of the Kennel Club, Caroline Kisko, enthused. “I am sure we can expect to see a really special dog take the title.”

The Scruffts final will take place on Friday 8th March in the Arena of The NEC in Birmingham and will be judged on the dog’s character, health and temperament.

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