And the reality?
They're just a judge-check, not a vet-check.
Here, Crufts Chief Vet Andreas Schemel demonstrates exactly what they entail. Or rather don't entail.
Dr Schemel is, of course, a judge himself and all he does is simply repeat what a judge would do.
• there is no stethoscope;
• no pen-light to look in the dogs eyes.
• he runs his hands down the dog's limbs but doesn't make any attempt to manipulate the joints.
And as for the movement/breathing test.. the dog is asked to trot 10 metres. And back again.
Now, the Kennel Club can claim that this is a check to ensure that judges don't put up dogs with obvious problems.
But to also claim that this is any proof of the overall health of show dogs is just nonsense.
But that's what the Kennel Club is doing. Have a look at this report in DogWorld - which, incidentally, confirms that all the Crufts vets had "received training and attended the KC's high-profile seminar at Stoneleigh" (the KC's Warwickshire HQ).
I am informed that they were instructed not to check "too thoroughly".
The DogWorld article also reveals the names of the vets involved.
A quick check reveals that two are Kennel Club Members, and one of them is an owner and exhibitor of Border Terriers. Coincidentally this is the same breed as both the current and past Chairman of the Kennel Club.