Crufts Dog Show bans 30 Russian breeders as event reopens after hiatus

World's biggest dog show makes decision over Ukraine crisis 'with a heavy heart'

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Organisers of the world's biggest dog show Crufts have banned 30 Russian breeders and owners from participating in the event.

Thousands of dogs and their owners will be taking part at Crufts, which opened on Thursday after a two-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 20,000 dogs are due to attend the four-day show competing on obedience, appearance and agility at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham, central England.

However, the organisers at The Kennel Club have made the decision to ban Russian dog owners and their animals from attending due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"In the light of rapidly evolving circumstances, it is with a heavy heart we have taken the decision not to allow exhibitors from Russia to compete at Crufts 2022," the Kennel Club said.

The decision affects about 30 Russian owners and breeders and 51 dogs that were due to participate in the show, which was first held in 1891.

"Our friends in Ukraine and their dogs are fearing for their lives and we will do all that we can to support them wherever possible," said Tony Allcock, Kennel Club chairman.

"The Kennel Club shares the world’s dismay and devastation at the horrifying atrocities being witnessed in Ukraine, following the invasion by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and as a result we recently announced that no exhibitors living in Russia will be allowed to compete at Crufts 2022.

"These actions are a violation of human rights that are leaving those people in our canine community and beyond fearing for their lives and as an organisation focused on animal welfare our hearts are also breaking for all the dogs and animals affected by this invasion."

It is donating £50,000 ($66,000) to help partner organisations in Ukraine, Poland and Hungary to assist breeders, owners and their dogs affected by the conflict.

About 16,000 dogs from 38 countries are competing for the prestigious Best in Show finale, which will reach its conclusion on Sunday evening.

Slightly more than 1,800 are from overseas – almost half the amount of foreign entrants compared to two years ago.

Since the UK's full departure from the EU in January last year, European visitors and their pets are subject to more stringent entry requirements.

The winner of the 2020 Best in Show was Maisie, a wire-haired dachshund.

Updated: March 10, 2022, 2:00 PM