Saturday, March 10, 2007
SIT! Crufts 2007, BBC2, Sat 7.30pm and Sun 7pm
Many people think that Crufts makes dogs look ridiculous, but discounting the one from Friday night whose fur had been cut to make it look like a lion, it doesn't at all. While the dogs may look unnaturally primped, it's the handlers prancing alongside them who emerge looking most preposterous, not least because they have bestowed names upon their hapless pooches that read like those random nonsensical email subject headings designed to get through spam filters. And seriously, during the doggy dancing sequences (sorry, "freestyle heelwork to music") you're left thinking that only one species should be sectioned under the mental health act and it's not the one that can lick its own genitals.
The paradoxical wonder of Crufts is that it's essentially a beauty contest for animals that are genetically predisposed to eat their own shit, drag their bums along the carpet, stink the house out and lie on their backs, legs akimbo, proudly displaying their erections to embarrassed visitors. Still, anyone who has ever come within leg-humping distance of our loveable four-legged friends cannot fail to be transfixed by the agility competition, or to bawl uncontrollably at the Friends for Life award when people with disabilities are wheeled out to tell us how their dogs saved their lives.
The greatest part of Crufts is Flyball, which is the single most exciting sport ever invented. Basically, dogs race each other frantically through chicanes, hit a lever that sends a tennis ball flying into the air, which they catch in their mouths then race back to the start with. It's bloody brilliant. That woman off the horse racing who's co-presenting with Ben Fogle should have a word with her employers about changing the format of Channel 4 racing to include Flyball (oh and maybe Dick and Dom's Baby Race, that was good too). There's actually a wee bit of tension between posho Ben and horse lady because his dog is really well behaved, while her (normal) one constantly ignores her commands, head butts her microphone and runs away. Ben really likes to point this out.
On a serious note, dogs are just great and it's fab to watch healthy, happy pooches getting loads of loving attention and showing off their clever skills, but cutting their tails off is not very nice, so don't!