The worlds largest dog show “Crufts” is underway and after seeing images from this years show already, I struggle to understand how dog lovers can continue to support it. I have always seen Crufts as a fashion show that promotes unhealthy attitudes to dog breeding and the way we see our dogs, which is smoke screened by agility competitions and other events. I could launch into an attack on pure bred dogs but that would going over the obvious as even the BBC refuses to cover the events due to unhealthy breeding habits that are changing our dogs physiology for the worst.
Here I would like to discuss our cultures obsession with dressing up your dog and our animals in what simply borderlines fancy dress. Many dog “over dressers” will defend their decisions to dress their Pug up like a Christmas tree with the ignorant explanation that the dog “loves to dress up” (all while the dog cowers with his tail in between it’s legs) but the bottom line should be hit home that no dog wants to be restricted by fabric and clothing. You may forget that your dog is not a little human being, but your dog definitely doesn’t. Don’t go to far with dressing up your dog.
Let’s take this image for example, in which a dog has been made to wear a pair of sunglasses at Crufts 2015. On what planet does someone come from where they think a dog would quite like to wear a pair of sunglasses? It doesn’t need them, they are not practical and it definitely doesn’t like watching Kanye West music videos. The problem here is more than a dog wearing sunglasses and really bothers me when you think about it from this angle; Why are we so determined to stop our dogs being dogs? When I see a dog wearing human inspired clothing, I truly find it a shame that the dog has to be treated in such a disrespectful fashion. There are dog coats available that are made to be as comfortable as possible which actually look and are practical and there’s even shoes a dog can wear that are unobtrusive should they injure their feet and need protection. This I have no qualms with, but dressing up your dog like a bumblebee? Get real and show your dog a little respect.
Crufts is a show that places emphasis these unhealthy attitudes with their competitions that focus around these issues. It focuses around the elite dog owner (the type that would scoff at a mutt for being a healthy dog as nature intended) who believes their dog should look cute and be treated as property and a fashion accessory above an animal that should be treated as such. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all Crufts supporters are cruel; but I have the utmost respect for dogs and all animals and I would never find any pleasure in watching a doggy catwalk full of animals looking uncomfortable. How far will dog clothing and dog products go with so many people praising and supporting Crufts? How unhealthy and ruined will some of our favourite breeds become if it doesn’t stop spiraling out of control? Crufts needs to become about the dogs, and currently it’s all about the humans attending and our unrealistic expectations we inflict on them.