To the outsider this is a jolly world of waggy tails and wobbly bottoms, cosy weekend television in the company of the dependable Clare Balding.
But behind the scenes of this British institution rivalries fester. Controversy and Crufts are regular bedfellows.
Now a dog has died. A vet conducting a post-mortem has apparently found cubes of beef laced with three different types of poison. Two sheepdogs at the show are also reported to have been taken ill.
All this at the most prestigious event on the calendar of an elite and influential society that lays down laws for millions to follow, a society not renowned for its fondness of outside scrutiny.
No wonder that the story made most front pages today, but how to treat it? It's a serious tale that will provoke a reaction from every reader; it's what everyone will talk about in the pub; it'll be a first-round question in Friday's News Quiz. But getting the tone right is tricky.
"Murder at Crufts" shout the Mirror and Sun splash heads. But while the Mirror maintains its straight face, the Sun can't resist the subhead "Police are following all leads". For the Guardian and Independent, this was the "curious incident of the dog..." The Telegraph - Fleet Street's supposed expert on "country" matters - asks "Is a mystery poisoner hounding Crufts?"
The lame pun is misjudged, but then The Times's "Crufts contender poisoned by jealous rivals, owner claims" is so straight that it sounds almost ridiculous. The Mail, always seeking a different angle, suggests that the wrong dog had been poisoned: Jagger's half-brother Pot Noodle is the more successful and the two had switched places on the competitors' benches.
Wrong dog? Oh dear, here we are back in the land of mid-evening ITV3 detective shows and their red herrings. The Sun also picked up on this in its inside coverage - under the heading "Murder in the first pedigree". It doesn't matter which dog was the target; what makes this news is the possibility that any dog was deliberately and fatally poisoned at Crufts.
The owners and breeders haven't helped with their scattergun theories:
"It could have been Jagger was targeted by mistake. Pot Noodle had been achieving more glory and the two look very much alike."
"It could be someone with a vengeance trying to stop our success."
"I don't believe it had anything to do with other competitors."
"Strange things have been happening. At Richmond dog show somebody let Pot Noodle out of his cage and he went missing for an hour."
"There would only have been a tiny window of opportunity. That's when you rely on other competitors to look out for your dog."
"Whoever did this knew what they were doing, trying to get the right poison with a slow release."
"He has clearly been poisoned on purpose. Jagger loved people and he loved food. He would have trusted whoever gave it to him."
"The vet said there were two or three types of poison in his stomach. I think she identified one as a slug killer. I would guess the others would turn out to be a rat poison or industrial poison."
"We think this is the work of some random psychopathic dog hater who decided to visit Crufts with one thing in mind, rather than any sort of targeted attack."
"He could have been targeted for being a foreign dog. There's a lot of ill-feeling from some camps towards them."
"I don't want to believe a fellow competitor would do this. I think Jagger was the wrong dog in the wrong place and I'm hoping it was just some maniac who wanted to poison a dog."
"To think he may have been targeted by a rival at a dog show makes it even harder to take."
"It has been suggested that someone's really got it in for us. We're very proud of our record and maybe some people aren't happy."
Right, a random maniac or a jealous rival. A complete stranger or someone the dog would trust. All very emotional. All very Midsomer. Barnaby will have his work cut out here.
He could, of course, look to Crufts for assistance. The show organisers have so far said only that they are sorry about the death - and emphasised that the dog died not at the NEC in Birmingham, but at home in Belgium the next day.
One report this morning says that the competitors' benches are open to the public - obvious when you think about it, given the number of pictures of peek-a-boo pooches we see in Crufts week. Perhaps someone might ask the Kennel Club about its security arrangements.
Jagger was reportedly worth £50,000. Breeding and showing is big business, a dog-eats-dog world. I have a niggling feeling about this story and some of the things that have been said.
And I bet those sheepdogs have nothing to do with it.
Tuesday update: More controversy, this time over the owner of the supreme champion. She lifted it by its tail and neck. The Kennel Club says she's been warned about it before. She says "I didn't mean to. It's a habit." In other words "I do it all the time, but didn't mean to do it when anyone was looking."
You do wonder about people sometimes.
Now at least two online petitions are demanding that she be stripped of the title; they have already attracted 135,000 signatures.
The Kennel Club says the owner is very caring and that it wouldn't be fair to the dog to take away its title because of something the owner did.
As to Jagger and other suspected poisonings - including a claim that another dog died after competing at the show - the club has posted this statement on its Facebook page:
The facts surrounding Jagger’s sad death are still being established and we must stress that any other unsubstantiated rumours about dogs being poisoned are just that at this point. There are any number of reasons why a dog may display symptoms such as sickness and should a dog fall sick there are vets at the show who will examine the dog in question and file a report. We can confirm that no vets have raised concerns about poisoning and there have been no official complaints from any owners at Crufts 2015.