The Culture First Look

How a plucky little dog stole the show at Crufts

Olly the terrier did not win 'best in show,' but his energy and poise in the face of disaster stole hearts around the world.

A Jack Russell Terrier has made headlines – not for winning the world's largest dog show, but for losing in style.

Though Olly the Jack Russell Terrier’s performance at the agility-course competition on Friday was far from perfect – barreling through, sometimes in the wrong direction, and falling flat on his face – his enthusiasm in refusing to quit and continuing on with humorous verve captured hearts at last weekend's annual Crufts dog show in Britain and beyond. 

Tripping over a fence, the rescue dog (taken in by the Blue Cross shelter in Kimpton, Britain, when he was 10 weeks old) scrambled to collect himself and continued on to conquer every one of the remaining obstacles – often by missing the parts completely while failing to take any instructions from his handler Karen Parker. 

"What a nosedive! And he couldn't care less,” said the amused commentator. 

“He’s all over the place, and so he should be,” the commentator said. “Wrong way … Oh, it doesn’t matter.”

While Olly did not win Best in Show, a clip of his joyous, full-of-life performance has been trending on YouTube, receiving nearly 4 million views as of Tuesday afternoon. 

The viral popularity of Olly is on par with that of the children who interrupted their father’s BBC interview last Friday. A clip of two children who wandered into South Korean politics expert Robert Kelly’s home office during an interview with BBC went viral over the weekend, reminding many parents of the new reality of working from home. (However, columnist Danny Heitman who appears in The Christian Science Monitor argues that writers for years have been dealing with such a parental predicament of working with children nearby.)

Olly, this week's internet sensation, is one of among 22,000 dogs that took part in the annual dog show in Birmingham, England, with more than 3,000 dogs hailing from overseas and Labrador Retrievers having the highest number of entries, according to the show’s website. 

But this year’s winner of Best in Show, a two-year-old American Cocker Spaniel named "Afterglow Miami Ink," was not without controversy. The two-year old pup won Best in Gundog Group a day earlier, a pick some onlookers criticized. Some said the dog, “a pompous fancy thing,” does not reflect the real working dogs.

The other six finalists were a Lakeland Terrier, a Yorkshire Terrier from Japan, a Newfoundland dog, an Old English Sheepdog, a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen from the Netherlands, and a miniature poodle, who won the Reserve Best in Show award, according to Crufts.

Yet, the focus of the world today is no longer on the winners, but on Olly, the unexpected hero, for all the spirit and liveliness he showed. 

'He is an absolute handful,” the commentator said in the video. “[He is] totally crazy and as you can see he's having a ball. He loves life and exercise.”

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