The Utterly Inessential Crufts Shopping List: The toys, treats and trends that your dog deserves this year

Alexandra Fraser rounds up the top dog accessories on the market right now in honour of Crufts this weekend. After all, who deserves a treat more than Man's Best Friend?

This season is all about awards, but if we’re being perfectly honest, there’s only one competition that we care about in March and it’s not the rugby – although it’s competitors are usually quite hairy and spend a lot of time on all-fours.

It’s Crufts week, so it only stands to reason to dedicate this week’s Utterly Inessential to our four-legged friends, and all the people who are going down to Birmingham to celebrate them from today until Saturday.

Man’s Best Friend has earned its moniker a hundred times over with loyalty, laughter and unconditional love – now it’s time to treat them a little. They’ve earned it.

Good bouy

red dog life jacket original

More people have pets than children nowadays, and it’s not unusual to want to take you furry friend with you everywhere – Instagram is full to the brim with adventurers who travel with their animals. For the keen surfer, paddle boarder or sailor who wants to keep their pet safe, you can’t get better than Red Original’s dog buoyancy aid. Red are sponsoring the Dog Surfing Championships in Bournemouth in July, so they really know what they’re barking about.

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The Red Original buoyancy aids, £69.95 from XS to XL,

One for the mucky pups

Pet Teezer Small De-Shedding £10

Even my labrador gets a little matted sometimes. Having conquered the world of tangled human hair, Tangle Teezer are setting their sights a little lower (around 4 ft, usually) by designing one of the best dog brushes on the market right now. It works on long and short fur, catches the fur that comes loose and is gentle on sensitive puppy skin.

The Pet Teezer, in a range of sizes from £10,

Stride out in style

tan & dark brown collar, Red dog company

If you wore one outfit every single day for years, you’d want it to be a pretty fabulous one. The Red Dog Company’s collars are stylish and hard-wearing and come in the perfect size for your pup, from terrier type up to ‘was that a horse?!’.

Tan & dark brown collars, from £45 from The Red Dog Company,

For the terrible terriers…

Barbour Dog Harness available at The Oxford Shirt Company

For the skinny / particularly naughty ones (Trudy the Border Terrier, I’m talking to you), sometimes a collar just doesn’t butter the bone. As we move into Barbour season  – you know the one where it’s too hot for a proper coat but it still may shower at any moment? That one – grab a matching harness for your little friend.

Barbour Tartan Dog Harness, £24.95 from The Oxford Shirt Company,

One for the humans

Doyle dog socks

Support your dog with a spring in your step – because who doesn’t like socks? This is one for the friend who attends Crufts every year without fail, even if they have to take annual leave and go up to Birmingham to do it.  Luckily, their birthday is in April.

Doyle socks, £11 from Scott Nichol,

Treat Yourself

Treat Top Down Joints and Bones HeartRetouch

Devon-based Forthglade have an excellent range of treats and gourmet dog foods. My lab loves these ones – she’s getting on a bit, bless her, and anything to help a labrador’s joints is a good thing. Just keep them on a high shelf.

Grain free hand baked dog treats with salmon, glucosamine and chondroitin, £2.99, Forthglade,

Curl up cosy

Charley chau Double Fleece Dog Blankets

Charley Chau has been a favourite for us at Country Life for a while now, famed for their stylish beds which blend seamlessly into any interior design scheme. Their new range of fleece blankets are gorgeously cosy and wonderfully bright, great for protecting couches or curling up under in cold evenings.

Double fleece dog blankets, from £45, Charley Chau,

Terribly on trend

Pioneros Rainbow Dog Lead, £32.99 stocked at Farlows and available at

If you have the belt, your dog needs the lead. It’s as simple as that.

Pioneros Red/Navy/Cream Dog Lead, £32.99 stocked at Farlows and available at