This photograph by Harold Tomlin for the Daily Herald was taken at Crufts in 1933. It was entitled ‘Group of lady owners having lunch with a great Dane, Crufts’. (source)
The online Crufts catalogue from that year (conveniently the Danes were on the first day so I didn’t have to trawl through all of them) reveals that the judge was Mrs. Napier-Clavering (a leading breeder at the time) and there were 60 entries. (The annual registrations figure for that year was 735 Danes). Again conveniently the photograph includes the bench number so ring number 340 was Rita of Ouborough, born 27.01.27, by Ch. Bellovien of Ouborough and out of Patsy of Ouborough, owned by Miss J.A. Bower, who must be one of these three charming young ladies. The amazingly well-behaved Rita, who wasn’t taking a blind bit of notice of the sandwiches being waved about, but rather looking at the camera, actually won a Case of Silver Plated Pastry Forks for Novice Bitch – despite the size of her ears – no wonder the ladies look rather pleased!
Champion Ruffian of Ouborough won the Dog CC and Teresa of Welwyn by Ch. Ruffler of Ouborough out of Cuckmere Clovis, bred and owned by Miss M. R. Davy, won the Bitch CC. Cuckmere Claudine, bred by Mr. J. V. Rank, also by Ch. Ruffler of Ouborough, out of Ruth of Ouborough and owned by Mrs. Lee Booker won the RCC in bitches and Ch. Bellovien of Ouborough (by Ch. Bello von Schonbuch x Vivien of Ouborough) from the Veteran Class (although he was born in July 1927 so he was 5 months short of 6 years) won the RCC in Dogs. Best of Breed was the dog, Ruffian.
It’s worth noting the brief breed description that appears in the catalogue:
DESCRIPTION OF THE GREAT DANE. In spite of his remarkable size and strength , the Great Dane should be elegantly built. ” Elegance of outline and grace of form are most essential, ” says “The Standard, ” and size is also necessary . An adult dog should not be less than 30 inches in height, and the minimum weight is 120lb. Bitches may be 3 inches and 20lb. less. The beauty of the dog is greatly enhanced by an upright carriage of the head and neck , and the expression must be alert, almost to the point of fierceness. If properly trained when young they are most tractable . The head Is long with strong jaws, and , as the muzzle is broad and the skull comparatively narrow , the head seems to be of equal breadth right down . A fair measurement from tip of nose to back of occiput is 13 inches. Ears should be small , set on high , and carried slightly erect with the tips drooping. The long neck should be well arched and free from loose skin ; forelegs straight, with big bone and rounded feet, plenty of muscle on the hindquarters ; stifles and hocks well bent; ribs deep and well sprung . Colours are brindles, fawns, blues, blacks and harlequins. Some importance is attached to colour in the judging ring . A harlequin should preferably have black patches on a pure white underground , although blue patches are permitted ; but no other colour. These patches, which are usually fairly big , are of irregular shape , as if they have been torn.
So who are going to be the winners this year, 125 years since 25 Great Danes were exhibited at the first Crufts ? Back then, in 1891, Mr. R. Herbert was the judge – and the famous dog of the day was Mr. E. H. Adcock’s Ivanhoe, who was 33 inches and 168lb. in weight.
I don’t yet know, at the time of writing, who the 2016 winner is going to be, at Crufts’ 125th anniversary show, results are coming in, I don’t know how close they will be to the above description. But one thing I can tell you for certain – they are going to be different than those early dogs – and their ears aren’t going to be small !
Update: Dog CC Crufts 2016 : CH VANMORE STOP AND STARE AT CASTLEON (L, E & L WEBB & MORGAN EVANS)
RCC: NUCH/SEUCH /CHJCH GANTEUS ALFA AMERICANO IL DECIMO NV-15 (DR T MOSVOLD) – from Sweden.
Bitch CC : SANTANNA MOET AND CHANDON CJW15 (Mrs K CAFFERTY RICE) – Ireland
RCC: CH. VANMORE EYE CATCHING Mr L. MORGAN EVANS
BOB: SANTANNA MOET AND CHANDON
BEST PUPPY: RAYJEN ACES HIGH – MRS J. PARK
Full results here