Dan’s the man! Norfolk dog is crowned second best at Crufts
PUBLISHED: 11:52 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:10 10 March 2014
A dog from the Fens has been crowned second best in the world after beating more than 21,000 to win reserve best in show at Crufts.
Dan the Man, a Samoyed from Upwell, qualified for the final after winning a series of heats at the world-famous dog show at the weekend.
The three year old, whose official name is Ch Nikara Diamond Dancer JW, came second in the finals after being pitted against six other dogs.
Thousands of animals competed over four days at the NEC show for the chance to win the most celebrated title in the world of dogs.
Proud co-owner Sue Smith said: “It was such a rush of excitement when the judge came over. Dan the Man is a very special dog and very easy to live with. He’s definitely a once in a life time dog.”
The weird and wondeful world of Crufts
Here are some of the best facts and figures from the canine parade, which celebrates its 123rd year in 2014:
:: As this year’s finalists line-up to do their owners proud, they will be hoping to emulate some of their doggy ancestors at the show. The Cocker Spaniel has won the most Best in Show titles, with seven wins, followed by the Irish Setter and Welsh Terrier which have both won on four occasions.
:: The first ever Best in Show was won by a greyhound like this Italian breed in 1928. Greyhound Primley Sceptre took home the top prize and was owned and bred by Herbert Whitley, a brewery millionaire who also founded Paignton Zoo.
:: Theo, a four-a-half-year-old Pomeranian dog and Meme, a 10-month-old Afghan Hound, had to wait to compete at Crufts in 2001, after the show was postponed during the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. Crufts ran in May rather than March that year.
:: Crufts covers more than 25 acres of the NEC in Birmingham over five halls, the Pavilion and the Crufts Best in Show Arena. The show moved from Earls Court in London to Britain’s second city in 1991 - the first time it was ever staged outside the capital.
:: Crufts lost its apostrophe in 1974, the year it was also mentioned in a murder trial. A jury at the Old Bailey was told how a man who had started an affair with a woman he met at Crufts was then stabbed to death by his wife, with the knife he had used to cut up their dog’s food.
:: Dog entries topped 15,000 for the first time in 1961 and kept rising - there were 20,566 canine competitors in 2013.
:: Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch to visit the Crufts. Her Majesty is royal patron of The Kennel Club, which organises the show.
:: The BBC dropped live Crufts coverage from its schedule in 2009 following a dispute with The Kennel Club about the inclusion of certain breeds of pedigree dog in the competition. Crufts was first televised on the BBC in 1950.
:: The Best in Show prize has been awarded for the past 86 years. A total of 43 different breeds have won the prestigious title over the years.
:: The 1988 Best in Show winner, English setter Starlite Express of Valsett, was already a canine celebrity, having featured in a nationwide poster campaign for Pedigree Chum.
:: In 1954 an electricians’ strike action resulted in the show being cancelled. It was the only time, apart from during the two world wars, that Crufts has been cancelled.
Co-owners Sue and Val Freer were watched by thousands in the arena and millions more worldwide as it was televised live on Channel 4 and streamed on the official Crufts YouTube Channel.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We were delighted to see Dan the Man chosen. He is such a lovely dog that clearly loves being in the show ring and has a great relationship with his handler.
“Reaching the Best in Show final at Crufts is a fabulous achievement for any dog.”
The Kennel Club, organiser of Crufts, is the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs.
At its heart are programmes and investments in education and health initiatives to help dogs across the UK to live long, healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.
The Kennel Club says that Crufts is a unique celebration of happy, healthy dogs and of the loving relationship that they enjoy with their owners. It recognises the varied roles that dogs play in society and highlights the many different disciplines and activities in which dogs are involved.