In a historic upset, a 2-year-old basenji won the world's most prestigious dog competition, Great Britain's 2001 Crufts Dog Show. This is the first time the basenji, a breed that originally hails from Africa, has won the coveted "Best in Show" award in the history of the competition.
The basenji is also called the "African Barkless Dog" because the breed does not bark; it makes a sort of chortling sound instead. The winning dog is named Jethard Cidevant, and he is owned by British citizen Paul Singleton. Second place went to a Welsh corgi.
The basenji is a member of the hound group and is also recognized by the American Kennel Club. To learn more about the Barkless Dog, see the story Meet the Barkless Basenji.
More than 20,780 top pedigree dogs competed over four days, ending on Monday, June 4. This year's show was one of a number of firsts, beginning with the competition's delay due to the foot-and-mouth epidemic. The competition is scheduled for March, but the foot-and-mouth epidemic that has swept Europe forced its delay.
Though dogs are not affected by foot-and-mouth disease, organizers worried that the show would spread the highly communicable disease even further. Many events in Europe were canceled or delayed due to foot-and-mouth.
This was also the first time foreign exhibitors took part in the show, part of a program called the Pet Passport Scheme. The program opens the dog show to all of Europe. The Crufts Dog Show is held by The Kennel Club of Great Britain, which has more than 6 million registered dog names in its database. The Kennel Club was founded in 1873, and the Crufts competition began in 1891.