UK & World News
Crufts To Include New Crossbreeds Class
The world's greatest dog show is to include a class just for crossbreeds for the first time ever.
Crufts is to host the final of Scruffts, which will see four dogs battling for the title of Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year.
The decision comes five years after the event organiser, The Kennel Club, was accused of promoting breeding practices that left animals with health problems - an accusation it fiercely denied.
Rascal, a 10-year-old Jack Russell and Norfolk Terrier cross, is one of the four finalists and her owner, Anne Worthington, from Dereham in Norfolk, is delighted they have the chance to be involved.
"The Kennel Club have been running Scruffts for some years now and I think they have taken the opportunity to move it to Crufts because it will broaden the audience.
"It also means that the various people in the dog community who have crossbreeds can now aspire to something different."
But despite the new category, the RSPCA is still not ready to reinstate its support, after withdrawing its backing in 2008 for what it called "morally unjustifiable" breeding methods.
"Including a crossbreed competition in Crufts is a step in the right direction because some of the categories move away from judging dogs on their appearance and they focus more on the positive aspects of dog ownership and awarding owners who have dogs that are happy, healthy and friendly," said scientific officer Lisa Richards.
"But it's important to remember that Scruffts is just a really tiny part of Crufts and we still have serious concerns that Crufts and other dog shows like it are still beauty pageant type shows with that emphasis on appearance and that dogs being bred to win these shows, their welfare is being seriously affected by that."
The finalists will be judged on personality and general health.
The final is being held on Friday. Rascal is up against Alfie, the Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog; Prettiest Bitch, Becky, and Child's Best Friend, Barley.