CRUFTS is to host the tenth anniversary Eukanuba World Challenge next year.
The opening ceremony and semi-final will take place in the Arena on Thursday at 5.30pm before the terrier and hound groups, and the final will be in the Arena on Friday at the same time before the utility and toy groups.
The event will take the same format as when it was held in America and will comprise between 37 and 43 dogs.
Watch Ricky winning the Eukanuba Champion Stakes Final where he qualified for the World Challenge
Watch Ricky go on to Crufts Best in show 2014
A top winner from each country is invited to compete in a ‘League of Nations-style’ competition. In 2013 it was the turn of the UK’s representative the Standard Poodle Ch/Am Ch Afterglow Maverick Sabre, owned at the time by Jason Lynn, Mike Gadsby and John and Sandra Stone. ‘Ricky’ replicated his victory by winning best in show at Crufts the following year.
The World Challenge was launched in 2007 at Long Beach, California with the support of the American Kennel Club. After four years it moved to Orlando, Florida, where the unique event continued to showcase top dogs from across five Continents for another three years.
In 2014, it moved across the Atlantic to the Winner Show in Amsterdam where it was held for two years with the support of the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI).
Dogs are named their nation’s representative, with direct access to the final, and further competitors are granted a place in the final by winning through from a specified qualifying event in Europe – which this year takes place at the Split summer shows in Croatia at the end of the month, or by winning best in show at a major dog show such as the World Dog Show, the European Dog Show or Crufts.
The choice of the venue is the result of collaboration between the FCI, the KC and the Challenge committee.
“The FCI is the biggest supporter of the competition, as the majority of the competitors from around the globe have been sent through from FCI countries,” said chairman of the Challenge, Jose Luis Ibanez. “The KC has also developed a strong relationship with the Challenge – not only as a key supporter but also by sending through UK-represented dogs to take part in the competition.
“For the past two years, the Challenge has been successfully held alongside the popular Amsterdam Winner Show in Holland, and Eukanuba wishes to express sincere gratitude to the Dutch Kennel Club and the Winner Show committee and supporters who helped make the 2014 and ’15 Challenge two of the best events yet.
It was now the right time to move to Crufts, he said.
“So many stories and wonderful memories have been created over the past nine years at the Challenge… What a way to hold the tenth anniversary by holding it at Crufts. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to showcase our event there.
“Last year, Eukanuba started a new chapter with Spectrum Brands, and together the Challenge has gone from strength to strength. This latest development, of moving to Crufts, will not only cement the Challenge as a world-class event but will also allow breeders and exhibitors from around the globe to see once again the world’s best dogs all in one place.”
Crufts chairman Gerald King said: “Crufts and the Kennel Club are pleased to host the tenth anniversary Eukanuba World Challenge in 2017. This will be a fantastic opportunity to have the entire dog world in one place celebrating the most successful and well-known dog show in the world – Crufts – and at the same time hosting the distinctive Eukanuba World Challenge.
“It will throw the spotlight in one place on the magnificence of pedigree dogs, and enhance the partnership the KC has with Eukanuba, supported by the FCI.”
FCI president Rafael de Santiago, who judged last year’s Challenge final, added: “The Challenge is an extremely well-organised global event and the ninth edition quite honestly surpassed all expectations. I’ve watched the event grow from being held in the US and Amsterdam, and now, coming to the UK and to Crufts, is a major achievement and one we’re proudly supporting.
“It’s also incredible to see the amount of backing from all of the national kennel clubs who send representatives forward to the Challenge, and we look forward to seeing this amazing event unfold at Crufts 2017.”
Dutch Kennel Club chairman Gerad Jipping said: “For the past two years the Winner show team has worked really well with Eukanuba, and both competitions were very special indeed and are proud to have been part of the Challenge.
“We wish the Crufts committee the very best of luck in putting on another amazing event.”
The presidents of all the competing countries’ kennel clubs will be invited to the finals at Crufts.