That’s right – my favorite time of year is coming up. In the course of the next 3 months, we’ll have three new champions: winners of the Iditarod, the Crufts show from England, and the granddaddy of all dog shows – Westminster! Madison Square Garden – all of New York, really – will be going to the dogs on February 10th and 11th for the 138th Annual Westminster Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show. Here’s the top ten reasons why you’ll want to watch, or better yet, attend the show.
10. Ms. Betty Regina Leininger of Frisco, Texas, has been selected to judge Best In Show. She is a licensed professional handler who began her career showing German Shepherds. She co-authored a book, “Preparation and Presentation of the Show Dog”, under the name of Betty R. Brucker. This is the sixth time she’s been invited to judge at Westminster.
9. One hundred ninety breeds will be competing, the most ever.
8. The Hound Group welcomes the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, a new breed recognized by the AKC in 2013. Pequeno means small or miniature, and sure enough, this little guy is the smallest of the three Podengoes. They are avid rabbit hunters in their native Portugal. Learn more from the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Club of America.
7. The Working Group welcomes the Chinook, a new breed recognized by the AKC in 2013. The Chinook is the state dog of New Hampshire. In addition to being wonderful companions, these dogs perform in obedience, agility, therapy work, tracking, and lure coursing, as well as dog powered sports such as sledding, bikejoring, scootering, and carting. Learn more from the Chinook Club of America.
6. The Terrier Group welcomes the Rat Terrier, a new breed recognized by the AKC in 2013. These farm dogs are exceptionally intelligent and easy to train to hunt rodents and vermin both above and below ground. They excel in conformation, agility, obedience, rally obedience, terrier racing, earthdog, barn hunt and lure coursing. Learn more from the Rat Terrier Club of America.
5. Since Westminster held its first show, there have been 25 men elected president and 12 states have joined the Union. The dog show has outlasted three previous versions of Madison Square Garden, and is currently being staged in MSG IV.
4. In 1884, The Westminster Kennel Club became the first member of the American Kennel Club.
3. The WKC show is the second longest continuously held sporting event in this country (just one year behind the Kentucky Derby).
2. The Masters Agility Championship at Westminster will take place on Saturday, February 8th at Pier 94.
1. The WKC show is the best in the US, if not the world, and will feature only the cream of the crop of show dogs.
Next week, we’ll feature ten top dogs who have a shot at winning this premier event, and in the week before the show, I’ll be showcasing my picks for each group and for best in show. (I”m never right, but it’s fun to take a shot!)
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!