This week (5th to 8th March 2020) will witness the world’s largest dog show – Crufts. A celebration of the special and enduring relationship between man and his best friend. The event is run annually from the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, typically attracting approximately 27,000 canines and 160,000 human visitors.
Charles Cruft ran the first show of that name in 1891, from the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington. From 1948, the show was sold to The Kennel Club and has grown in popularity ever since.
Over the four days, many demonstrations and activities take place, including agility, obedience and heelwork to music. However, the main event in many people’s opinion, is the showing of seven different pedigree groups. These are Toy, Utility, Gundog, Working, Pastoral, Terrier and Hound. The ‘Best in Group’ winners from each section then compete against each other on the final evening’s grand finale; the Best in Show class.
Of course, the winner is the creme de la creme of the canine world, but dogs have been in our lives for thousands of years. DNA evidence suggests that the dogs we know and love, are direct descendants from the grey wolf, having first been domesticated between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. Our pets are basically the equivalent of a one year old wolf cub that has never matured; young wolves show a strong urge to explore, play and are typically submissive towards a lead figure or parent.
Whilst our ancestors were out hunting, they are thought to have occasionally come across a lone wolf cub which they brought back to be raised within their own community. Humans would have quickly realised how the canine’s greatly superior senses, such as sight and smell, could be harnessed to assist them with tracking and hunting. And like today, dogs would have provided them with additional security at home, by acting as an early warning system against intruders.
Human hunters would have been unknowingly responsible for selective breeding, retaining only those animals which exhibited positive traits, such as a good temperament. Over time, through many generations of breeding, characteristics such as size, build, colour, swimming ability, and length and texture of coat would have evolved to match both the environment in which the dog resided, as well as the purpose for which it was required.
One early group of dogs were sight (or gaze) hounds. With their long legs, deep chest and excellent vision, these animals would have been used to silently chase down prey in open country. This group would eventually see the emergence of the lithe, fast greyhound and also the Afghan hound.
Later, in Europe, a group of dogs with an exceptional sense of smell appeared on the scene; the scent hounds. These dogs were bred for stamina, as opposed to great speed, tracking prey over significant distances, often through wooded country. Basset and Otter Hounds would have emerged from this group.
With the invention of guns, the gun dog came into its own, retrieving shot game from often very wet and boggy environments. Such animals required a very soft mouth, so as not to damage the bird they were collecting, coupled with a very keen sense of smell. Pointers and Retrievers would have appeared at this point, each slowly evolving over time, to become better and better equipped to carry out their roles. For example, Retrievers are particularly well suited for waterlogged areas, due to the development of their webbed feet and water-repellent coat.
As we move through history, some dogs began to be kept solely for companionship; a role which the Toy dog filled to perfection. Lap dogs, for example, were very popular with Roman ladies, where they were regarded as a status symbol. Today, dogs fulfil a huge range of roles in society, including companionship, search and rescue and security. Some even fulfil key roles in the police, army and border control, where their keen sense of smell is capitalised on to the full, in order to locate drugs, explosives or money.
In order to help celebrate all things canine, I will be giving away a free copy of my novel ‘Animal Attraction’, where the male and female leads only meet out walking, thanks to their over-enthusiastic dogs! You can download this book from Amazon on 4th of March 2020. Alternatively, it is available today via Kindle Unlimited. Happy reading!
The one thing Katie Gardener didn’t expect to encounter during her early morning dog walk, was a stomach-clenching, mind-numbing, arousal-inducing crush on a delectable stranger. Cursing herself for her ineptitude, she left their meeting without even knowing the man’s name.
Fortunately, fate conspired to bring them together once more, only to discover that their mutual animal attraction was relentlessly potent. But, having been hurt in love before, would it really be sensible of Katie to trust again?
Fenella Ashworth is a British author of contemporary erotic fiction. All of her stories are available from Amazon and free for those with Kindle Unlimited access. Her bestselling novels are ‘To Love, Honour and Oh Pay’ and the Daniel Lawson series.
Fenella also releases stories on BooksieSilk, Booksie, Lush Stories and Literotica, and is often visible in the Literotica ‘Erotic Couplings’ Hall of Fame (Top Rated).
For a chance to win copies of her stories in a free monthly prize draw, as well as keeping up to date with news from Fenella, please sign up to her newsletter.
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