The Kennel Club kindly sent Elsa a special pass so that she could attend Crufts with us! We went on day two, when the Toy and Utility breeds were being shown, so that we could see the Lhasa Apsos. We also did LOTS of shopping and got to meet some of our Instagram friends as well as some of the other working dogs at the show.
Friday 10th March 2017 | Elsa’s Day Out at Crufts
After a hearty breakfast and a good brush up (couldn’t have her looking too scruffy beside the show dogs) we grabbed Elsa’s pass and were ready to go!
We arrived at the NEC in Birmingham just after 9am and decided to have a walk around and soak up the atmosphere before we started shopping, so that we didn’t have too much to carry all day… Elsa quickly realised that this was no ordinary day out and her eyes lit up with excitement as soon as she saw the other dogs wandering around.
Eukanuba is the principal sponsor of Crufts and when we bought our show guide we also got some complimentary samples of their dog food. Naturally, they have a huge presence at the show. They also host a competition called Eukanuba Friends for Life – ‘celebrating the dogs in our lives that provide lifetime service, support, love and devotion’, with the winner announced live on the final day of Crufts. This year’s winner was Sally Deegan with her Bull Terrier called Bowser, a faithful companion who has seen Sally through some serious medical emergencies.
|Groomer of the Year – YKC Ring|
Discover Dogs is a dedicated area where you can meet and interact with over 200 different pedigree breeds. It’s a great place to start if you are looking for a puppy because you can also talk to the owners and learn about breed characteristics and care requirements including grooming and training etc, so you can make an informed decision about which breed would suit your lifestyle and circumstances.
Click here for more information about the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme.
Of course we had to stop at the Lhasa Apso stand where Elsa met some gorgeous puppies. They looked just like her when she was younger!
We met a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Amelia (Instagram @ameliathecav) from Eva and Amelia’s World. Their blog explores dog friendly places around London so it was great to spend some time chatting with a like-minded blogger and advocate for dog friendly Britain!
Our next stop was the Pets as Therapy stand where Elsa met some beautiful working dogs including the gorgeous Golden Retriever and Ted the Chihuahua pictured below.
We really admire the work that these dog do to enhance the health and wellbeing of communities by visiting hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues across the UK.
Their therapeutic visits:
- Enhance lives in our communities by providing companionship and friendship and helps to tackle loneliness.
- Improve the lives of people suffering from debilitating mental and physical health conditions and illnesses such as Autism, Dementia and Stroke by including animal assisted interventions as part of a holistic approach to treatment.
- Improve literacy in children by developing their confidence, interest and enjoyment in reading through our read2dogs scheme.
We have been fans of, and friends with, Doug the Pug the Therapy Dog on Instagram for quite a while now, so it was a real pleasure to finally meet both him and his owner, Cate Archer at Crufts!
Doug and Cate were kind enough to sign a copy of their book ‘Doug the Pug A Working Dog’s Tale‘ for Elsa!
Shopping at Crufts | A dog lover’s retail heaven!
Crufts host over 400 retail stands which are open over the four days of this popular dog show, so it’s a great place to find new products, as well as offers on your favourite brands. We picked up a few bargains, as well as some new toys and treats for Elsa to try!
Crufts is a great place to launch products and we decided to treat Elsa to some ‘Pawsecco’ – a new, healthy herbal infusion of ingredients including Elderflower, Nettle and Ginseng.
Fish 4 Dogs | This is one of our favourite brands. They use the waste products from the human fish industry to make wholesome, nutritious and sustainable food and treats for dogs.
Elsa can sometimes be sensitive to changes in her diet and certain dog treats, but we quickly found that fish based products were less likely to cause stomach upsets and she absolutely loves them!
We regularly buy things like Fish Twists (a great alternative to rawhide chews) and were very keen for Elsa to try the new products that were on offer at Crufts including the Calamari Rings, Fishy Nibbles, Squid Bites and Freeze Dried treats… reviews to be posted soon!
Canagan | As a puppy, Elsa was on a leading premium, mainstream brand of food that was highly recommended by her breeder. When it came time to transition her to adult food we went through months of struggling to get her to eat anything besides treats and used to regularly soak her food in hot water or sprinkle crushed up treats over it in order to encourage her to eat…
As she grew into an adult dog, and our understanding of dog nutrition evolved, we decided to move her onto a more natural, biologically appropriate food and that’s when we found Canagan in our local pet shop Hounds.
Elsa is still a fussy eater, but she’s always liked Canagan. It’s the only dog food that she’s willingly eaten from a bowl without any hesitation. We did switch to Piccolo for a while and although she enjoyed eating this too, it’s a bit richer and we found that her weight crept up a bit so we switched back to Canagan.
Canagan’s ‘Small Breed Dog’ food is available in two flavours: Country Game and Free-run Chicken and they had a great offer available at Crufts – 3 bags for less than £30, with a free wheely-bag! We couldn’t resist a bargain like this so we decided to stock up…
We love collecting new collars and leads for Elsa and it was great to see some of our favourite brands at Crufts including:
Wiff Waff Designs | Collars, Leads, Harnesses, Bandanas & Gifts
|That’s not a real dog Elsa!|
Ditsy Pet | Pet collars and accessories made from unique fabrics and trims, all handmade in the UK.
Another stall that caught our attention was Gorgeous Cottages a company that specialises in letting luxury holiday cottages in Yorkshire, with a huge range of pet-friendly options. These are exactly the types of places that we would stay so we entered their Crufts competition to win a weekend break at the gorgeous, dog-friendly Low Burn Cottage. Fingers crossed!
Show Dogs | A highlight of visiting Crufts is the opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the show dogs!
Lovely Lhasas | We took Elsa to watch the Lhasa Apsos being shown throughout the day.
We can really appreciate how much hard work goes into keeping their coats in such amazing condition and it was lovely to see them in their full glory!
The Lhasa Apso below has very similar colouring to Elsa… It was interesting to imagine what she would be like with longer fur, although she is far too much of a tomboy for us to consider letting it grow this long!
Elsa didn’t seem too bothered about watching the competitors in the ring… but this was definitely a highlight of the day for us!
All the excitement was a bit too much for some of the spectators and many took the opportunity to catch up on some rest…
Stunning Shih Tzus | Elsa often gets mistaken for a Shih Tzu so it was interesting to see these two, very similar, breeds side-by-side. The most surprising feature we noticed was that the Shih Tzu’s being shown were actually quite large compared to the pets that we know. Their fur also seemed to be denser than the Lhasa’s. The most noticeable, differential feature is their shorter muzzle.
As we headed through the halls we saw lots of other gorgeous, and very well behaved, dogs enjoying the atmosphere and attention that they were getting…
|Elsa poses in front of the famous Crufts sofa.|
Dogs are not allowed in the stalls of the main Arena but fortunately there were two of us with Elsa, so we split up for a little while and she enjoyed a rest in the quiet seating area nearby.
With our batteries recharged we decided to head back through the halls again and have a look at some more shops!
Lily’s Kitchen | Proper food for pets made with natural ingredients
As luck would have it we happened to see Clare Balding on the Lily’s Kitchen stand! Although clearly very busy, she was kind enough to stop for a quick photograph and absolutely made our day!
Of course Elsa was more interested in sniffing out the treats…
We also met Lily’s owner Henrietta Morrison, who was inspired to create healthy, natural and delicious food after battling Lily’s skin allergies, caused by conventional processed dog food.
|Elsa says hello to Henrietta|
We love their high-quality, natural treats so we decided to stock up on some of Elsa’s favourites including the Crispy Pork Bites, Mini Venison Sausages and cheese and apple Training Treats.
No visit to Crufts would be complete without some official merchandise so we bought Elsa a lovely purple Crufts 2017 rosette to commemorate her visit.
We took a short break from shopping to visit another Lhasa called Lexxi, a Caring Canine who was on The Kennel Club’s Bark & Read Foundation Stand. It was lovely meeting this beautiful little lady and learning about the amazing work that they do; offering dog assisted therapy to those who are in need.
Back to shopping…
Only Dogs Allowed | This stall caught our eye because they were selling Himalayan Dog Chews and we have been looking for these for a while after seeing them on social media… This was the first time we’ve seen them available in the UK so we had to pick one up for Elsa to try.
This online shop is also the UK distributor for the Natural Dog Company so we also picked up some Pawtector for Elsa – an organic, vegan, all-natural blend of carefully selected waxes and oils, specially formulated to create a nourishing barrier to protect paw pads against the elements such as heat, cold, sand, salt and snow.
We’ve read really good reviews about the Himalayan Dog Chews. They are made of cows/ yak milk with a pinch of salt and lime juice and are supposed to last for a long time. As a bonus you can also microwave the end piece of the chew to create a puffed, popcorn style, treat!
Only Dogs Allowed also sell British Hound soap so we picked up a Pamper Shampoo Bar for Elsa. We’ve recently found that these types of shampoo bar are very handy when we need to wash Elsa’s paws off after a muddy walk. As a bonus, the British Hound bars also come in their own travel tins.
Laughing Dog | A Lincolnshire based farm bakery that specialises in slow baked, natural, wholesome dog food and treats.
Elsa was very impressed with the Laughing Dog stand and happily helped herself to some of the dry food on offer!
We couldn’t resist this prettily packaged selection of new, grain free treats comprised of biscuits for the Morning with banana and blueberry, Noon with peppermint and ginger and Night with chamomile and passion flower.
Since Elsa seemed to enjoy the food so much we also took a few samples with us…
Hownd | A UK based manufacturer of cruelty-free dog grooming products. We received a very warm welcome from the founders of this company, Mark and Jo who talked us through the features and benefits of their products.
PitPat | Dog activity monitor
The lovely ladies of PitPat contacted us via Instagram while we were at Crufts, so we arranged to meet them to learn more about their company.
We had a lovely chat about anything and everything related to dogs and before we left they kindly gave Elsa one of their activity monitors to review!
Elsa has already started wearing the monitor on her collar and we have begun to gather data about her activity levels.
We are very grateful for PitPat’s generosity and can’t wait to share our feedback!
Rabart Pro-Choice Canine | Our last purchase was a pink Show Tech DryDude Towel for Elsa. She already has one of these in blue and it’s fantastic for soaking up the water from her coat after a full bath.
As we made our way back through the halls towards the exit we stopped to see the final Lhasa Apsos being judged.
Our day at Crufts flew by and Elsa was very tired so we decided to make our way home.
We are very grateful to The Kennel Club for inviting Elsa to share this amazing, unforgettable experience with us!
Unpacking the shopping the next day was comparable to Christmas morning… no wonder our bags were so heavy! We picked up some really exciting products, as well as some of Elsa’s favourites, and we’ll be sharing our thoughts and reviews over the coming weeks…
Thanks again to everyone that took the time to speak to us, and for all the various goodies for Elsa! We met so many wonderful people and amazing dogs.
We can’t wait to do it all again next year!