The world's largest dog show is set to return with the four-day event starting on March 6.
Taking place in Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, the self-dubbed "biggest and best celebration of dogs," per Crufts website, will comprise of four-days worth of varied contests.
Showcasing the dogs' skills, using tests in agility, obedience and rally, as well as showing and ringcraft, dogs and their owners will take part in the hotly-contested tournament, as well as battling for the crown of Best In Show.
Broken up across breed categories, one dog from each group—Working, Utility, Hound, Pastoral, Toy, Terrier and Gundog—will reach the final round to compete for the Best In Show title on the final day.
|Crufts 2014: Dates, Times, TV Info and Live Stream|
|Date||Time||Event||Live Stream||TV Info|
|March 6||9 a.m - 7.55 p.m. GMT, 4 a.m. - 2.55 p.m. ET||Working and Pastoral breed||Crufts' Youtube account||Channel 4|
|March 7||8.30 a.m - 7.50 p.m. GMT, 3.30 a.m. GMT - 2.50 p.m. ET||Terrier and Hound Groups breed||Crufts' Youtube account||Channel 4|
|March 8||8.30 a.m - 8.15 p.m. GMT, 3.30 a.m. GMT - 3.15 p.m. ET||Toy and Utility Groups breed||Crufts' Youtube account||Channel 4|
|March 9||8.45 a.m - 9 p.m. GMT, 3.45 a.m. GMT - 4 p.m. ET||Gundog Group breed and Best In Show||Crufts' Youtube account||Channel 4|
This year's Best In Show category is set to comprise of a number of judged events, including the Agility, Working and Pastoral and Young Kennel Club Stakes finals, as competitors look to seal the 2014 title.
There will also be a special fanfare from the Royal Marines, as well as two dog-appreciation shows, as spectators get the chance to admire their canine friends.
Performances from Friends for Life, which rewards the nation's unsung dog heroes, along with Heelwork to Music performance, will provide the centrepiece for the final day.
Last year, Soletrader Peek A Boo, also known as Jilly, won Best In Show and was retired by owners Sara Robertson and Wendy Doherty after the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen's victory.
This time around, it'll be up to judge Jack Bispham to make the call on who will lift the coveted trophy and £100 prize, per StaySure.
Staffies usually get a bad reputation at Crufts, but Birmingham resident Tina Walker will be hoping her two Staffordshire bull terriers Rogue, eight, and Gino, 19 months, will lead her to victory.
Speaking with the Birmingham Mail, Walker admitted that she hadn't entered previously because her and her dogs weren't in-keeping with the Crufts norm:
I was probably against it because Staffordshire bull terriers don’t appear on TV very much and they always show really snobby people, not normal ‘Joe Bloggs’ people like us. So I had only ever seen people with fluffy little dogs running around show rings and I wouldn't even run for a bus!
We entered her first in an open show in Great Barr and when she placed third we got such a buzz out of it we decided to carry on.
Walker continued, adding that Staffies are usually looked down upon at Crufts, but noted that they're one of the most popular breeds among fans:
A lot of breeders, especially with the smaller, fluffier dogs, tend to look down their noses at Staffordshire bull terriers, thinking everyone with a Staffie is a yob with a tattoo. We tend to get shoved into a far corner of a show, away from everybody else and when we walk by, people drag their dogs away, like ours is going to try and eat them.
The looks and comments they sometimes make—it’s as if we have a devil on a lead. Staffies get a lot of bad press but the behaviour of a dog really comes down to its owner. And at Crufts, the biggest crowd is always around the Staffordshire bull terrier ring.
The event will also provide an important chance for many dogs' trusts to set up their stalls in Birmingham, as they look to raise money to keep their breeds fit and healthy.
As highlighted by the Border Collie Trust's tweet, all visitors and donations are welcome:
The event will conclude on March 9, and with just one bull terrier winning Crufts to date, there's room for Walker and her dogs to pick up an historic victory this time around.
Abraxas Audacity's win in 1972, per AllPosters, was the last time that a bull terrier won the tournament, with the Staffordshire relative yet to pick up a victory since the competition's formation in 1891.
But a win for the Staffies this time around would not only create history, but open up the competition to other breeds and give more varied competition to the dog lovers' event.
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