Although I am not aware that the subject of this sketch has ever displayed any doggy proclivities, he certainly can claim to have aided and abetted vast multitudes of his fellow-creatures in the furtherance of their hobbies, as he has had a very long connection with doggy affairs, and is, perhaps, to-day the best-known person to Doggy People in the whole world.
It may be a surprise to many of my readers to hear Mr. Charles Cruft was for some years engaged as a manufacturing jeweller, a business in which his father, who is still living, has been engaged all his life. But the sedentary and somewhat humdrum nature of the occupation did not satisfy Mr. Cruft, jun., and he left the business in 1865 and entered the service of the late Mr. James Spratt, who at that time was in quite a small way of business in Middle Row, Holborn, as a vendor of dog biscuits, and Mr. Cruft remained in the firm, to which he was much attached, and gradually rose to the position of General Manager. Aided by his fostering care the business eventually grew to be the largest of its kind the world has yet seen, and under its present title of Spratt's Patent, Ltd., caters for everything in the way of biscuits and foods for dogs, cats, rabbits, poultry, pigeons, game, and cage birds, besides manufacturing and supplying everything required in any way associated with all those varieties of live stock.
During the latter part of his connection with the firm, which lasted over thirty years, Mr. Cruft was for many years the head of their extensive Show Department, and visited and personally managed innumerable shows of all kinds throughout the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe.
By an arrangement with Spratt's Patent, Ltd., Mr. Cruft has been allowed to hold shows on his own account since his retirement, and these he commenced with shows of Terriers, the first of which was held at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, in the year 1886, and have been continued annually, at one place or the other, ever since, at which, mostly at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, he has had some of the largest entries ever obtained at dog shows. He has also acted as Manager, or Secretary, or both, at many shows promoted by others, and his great experience in such matters has led to his being consulted and employed in that capacity at very many important gatherings in connection with doggy affairs, so that, as I have said, he is probably more known to Doggy People than any one else that can be named. He is a man of great energy and ability, with special administrative and organising powers, and what he does not know in any way relating to show matters is really hardly worth learning. I have been fortunate in obtaining the best portrait of Mr. Charles Cruft I have ever seen.
MR. CHARLES CRUFT.
From photo by Negretti & Zambia.