Dancing dogs one of the highlights set for annual event in Cranleigh

Cranleigh set for annual show SUS-150617-125344001
Cranleigh set for annual show SUS-150617-125344001

These highly trained dancing dogs – performing here for the first time with Richard Curtis - will be just some of the hundreds of animals gathered on Cranleigh Showground to take part in displays and competitions.

Entries are now closed and the response from the farming community has been great with new competitors coming forward as a result of the date change to June.

Cranleigh and SE Agricultural show chairman James Childs said: “It was a gamble to move the date but the farming community, traders, visitors have rallied to support the show and we are delighted with the response.

“We are a local show, run by locals who give up their time on a voluntary basis because we believe in the importance of livestock showing both for the farming community and for our non-farming visitors.”

Visitors will be able to see an amazing collection of 230 sheep representing a wide range of commercial and rare breeds such as the extraordinary Manx Laoghtan with their double sets of giant horns, showing here at Cranleigh for the first time.

This year Gloucester Old Spot Exfold Princess 223 will be there with her litter of silky spotty piglets. Come and try and count the spots! There will be 60 wriggly pygmy goats and 80 representatives of commercial and rare British and European beef breeds.

The livestock showing at Cranleigh have changed over the years. When the show started just after the Second World War, Surrey was awash with dairy herds.

Now dairy farms are almost an endangered species in Surrey. Instead, we have a strong suckler beef industry, where the calves stay with their mums in the field in a large relaxed family group, and so Cranleigh cattle classes are now for beef breeds.

Pigs were added to the championship competitions in 1949, followed by sheep in 1954 and the horse show was added in 1956.

Watching the classes for cattle, sheep, pigs and goats and browsing the livestock marquees where you can see the animals at close quarters is a fantastic way of introducing children to farm animals and the country life in a very friendly environment.

The championships, followed by the impressive parade of cattle and sheep in the main arena, are still the most important part of the show.

The animals are all presented at their absolute best, washed and groomed, clipped and coiffed to show off the qualities of each breed – many of them now very rare -and spectators can see them all, from the massive continental, Longhorn and Highland beef bulls down to pygmy goats and miniature horses, at very close quarters!

Visitors can also go nose to beak with exotic birds of prey displayed by Eagle Heights. A Bald Eagle names Kayla will soar above the crowd, a White-backed Vulture called Becks will go galumphing around the arena and a Falcon will hurtle at 120mph, while a little Barn Owl just floats around amongst the crowd.

Younger children will love the little animals at Fisher’s Farm petting animals display and the ever popular dancing sheep at The Sheep Show.

Cranleigh Show organisers are delighted with the response from the traders too. Spectators will find lots of new stalls this year and craft and farm food marquees full of activity and interest. This traditional agricultural show is geared up for families and what a treat for Father’s Day!

Top arena billing this year is shared by two nail-biting entertainments - scurry racing, a first for Cranleigh, and Dylan’s Stuntworld –motorcycle aerobatics back by popular request.

The John Morris Countryside Arena celebrates the dog! As well as Dancing Dogs, Warrenby Gun Dogs will also be demonstrating the quintessence of obedience training, here used to create the ultimate working retriever, and it is fabulous to watch such rewarding relationships between dogs and handlers.

In the morning competitive dog agility will be run by Kelluki Agility. There will be a display by Ridgeside Lurchers and visitors can enter their dogs in the have-a go lurcher racing and also the Companion Dog Show where classes include the waggiest tail and dog most like its owner.

The horse show is family friendly with classes for everyone from leading rein riders to re-trained racehorses and heavy horses.

This year sees the return of non-affiliated show jumping and the popular clear round jumping, and many of the showing classes are qualifiers for Ponies UK, CHAPS, the Veteran Horse Society, Donkey Breed Society and Arab Horse Society championships.

Children’s activities include boat rides on a pop-up lake, and a father’s day treat would not be complete without a visit to the bars run by the Hogs Back Brewery and a go at laser clay pigeon shooting.

Cranleigh Show prides itself on being part of the local community and it is run by volunteers for Cranleigh and South East Agricultural Society as a not-for-profit event.

Discounts are available for early bookings. Go to www.cranleighshow.co.uk.

Report and pictures contributed by Jane Garrett.