Friday 15 December 2017

You know you've made an odd life choice when you're perming an Afghan

Irish setter Jagger
Irish setter Jagger

Crufts got a lot of attention this week thanks to an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery involving an Irish setter, Jagger, and a possible poisoning.

It's now a matter for the British and possibly Belgian police, and will hopefully result in the poisoner (if one exists) being caught. The whole issue serves to distract from just how weird Crufts is, even without added murder-mystery.

Hundreds of men and women, spending thousands of euro and infinite man hours breeding, primping, clipping and styling dogs, before gathering in a warehouse to ask a third party to decide whose dog is not only best looking, but also follows a set of criteria known as the breed standard.


Before you say it - I know there is more to Crufts than that - there's agility competitions, shows of working dogs and displays of every conceivable product for a mutt.

All of which makes sense. But they are sensible window dressing around the core oddness of a group of grown adults getting together to see who has the prettiest dog.

One of the four-legged contestants (a terrier) was pictured preparing for display with rollers in. Terriers don't have opposable thumbs. They cannot put in rollers.

That means a grown human had to blow dry a terrier and wind its fur into curlers. Surely, when you're trying to give a dog a perm, a warning bell should go off in your head, and at least a tiny part of you should say 'what the hell am I doing with my life?'.

It's time to bring back One Man and His Dog. No shepherd has ever reached down to pat a collie and thought: 'Sure he can herd sheep, but wouldn't he look great with a fringe?'.

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