Charles Alfred Cruft (28 June 1852 – 10 September 1938) Was the general manager of James Spratt, dog biscuit manufacturer, who travelled to dog shows both here in the UK and abroad selling his firms wares.
Because of his good salesmanship Cruft went to France to further his employer’s products, and the French dog breeders who were so impressed by Cruft's knowledge of dogs asked him to organize the canine section of The Paris exhibition (Exposition Universelle) in 1878
In 1886 Cruft managed his first dog show the Allied Terrier Club Show, which was billed as ("First Great Terrier Show") at the Royal Aquarium Westminster. The show had 56 classes and 600 entries
Being head of their Show Department (Spratt’s) for several years between 1870 and 1872 Cruft had to attend "Grand National Exhibitions of Sporting and other Dogs" at The Crystal Palace, London, annually. But these shows were not viable financially and were dropped
In 1886, Cruft was approached to run a dog show for terriers in London and so on 10 March his show opened at the Royal Aquarium in Westminster, London. Entitled
"The first Great Show of all kinds of Terriers"
The show received 570 entries with 57 classes
In 1891 Cruft started the first "Cruft’s Show" billed as
"Cruft's Greatest Dog Show"
at The Royal Agricultural Hall Islington, with profits going to himself This show was open to all breeds of dogs which attracted 2000 dogs and 2,500 entries.
In March 1894, held his first Cat conformation show. The first show had over 600 entries, holding a second cat show in March 1895. These proved to be a financial disaster and was not repeated
In 1896, Cruft obtained concessions for exhibitors travelling to shows on the railways, and also designed special train carriages to carry the entries to his shows from around the country.
In 1902 Cruft was Secretary of the Ranelagh Fox Terrier Show which became the National Terrier Club, and on 21 June 1902, the show became known as the National Terrier Show, and Charles Cruft continued as Secretary of the club.
He continued to run the Cruft’s Dog shows on a yearly basis until his death in 1938.
Cruft is buried in North London's Highgate Cemetery.
After Cruft died, the shows were carried on by his wife Emma till 1941, when she approached the Kennel Club to continue Cruft’s creation.
Although it was thought that Charles Cruft never have owned a dog himself, because his wife said that couldn't own a dog as it was seem that they would favour that particular breed. She went on to say that they wanted to have a pet, so they went for a cat. Yet in Cruft's memoirs, published after his death, in "Charles Cruft's Dog Book" in 1952, Cruft admitted that he had Alsatians and Borzois in the house. He went on to state that he and his wife Emma had owned at least one Saint Bernard; the same breed of dog he had used in his creation of the Crufts logo.
On his death Cruft was worth £30,476 9s 3d