Westminster 2019: How It All Works

The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, new to the Hound Group this year.
The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, joining the Hound Group this year.
For those of you who might be new to the dog show world, here’s an overview of the big 2019 Westminster Kennel Club Show.

Although the main event is Monday and Tuesday nights, there were some preliminaries on Saturday. The AKC convenes Meet the Breeds to allow people to get up close and personal with examples of each breed. Each breed group sets up a booth, and their members take turns showing off their dogs and answering questions from the public. The Masters Agility competition also takes place on Saturday. The Masters Obedience Championship takes place on Monday, concurrently with the breed judging.

Speaking of which, the main event begins with individual breed judging. There are many different rings, and quite frankly, it’s a zoo! Because the show has gotten so big, different groups of dogs are judged on two different days. Monday includes all the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Breeds, while Tuesday highlights the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups.

In the breed ring, a judge must choose between all the entries in each breed to find the best example of that particular breed. To the novice, all of the entries look the same. You look into the ring and see 40 Akitas and wonder how one is any better than another. The judge, however, is an expert on the breed standard, the description of the ideal exemplar of that breed. Check out the live streams of the breed judging. Somehow, one dog is picked from each breed, and all of those breed winners go on to the group judging that you can see on TV in the evening.

In group judging, dogs are divided into their breed groups, depending on their purpose in life. For example, the Herding Group includes the Collie, Border Collie, Old English Sheepdog, and Shelti. The Hound Group includes Beagles, Afghans, and Whippets. In the breed ring, the dogs all look alike. In the group ring, they are all incredibly different. That’s why judging is done against the breed standard, not by comparing one dog to another. The judge must be intimately familiar with the standard for each individual breed in the group and must pick the one dog which best exemplifies its own standard. The standards documents are incredibly specific, detailing everything from how long the dog is, to the color and texture of its fur, to its gait, to the way his teeth meet (overbite, underbite, etc).

Winners of the groups will compete for Best in Show, where one member of each group is entered and the judge must choose from among these seven outstanding dogs to find an overall winner. Although there is no prize purse, the prestige and breeding potential are huge for the winning dog.

As always, I’ll be live-blogging the event, so check in often for up to the minute results if you can’t get to a TV.


Here’s the TV schedule for Monday:

1pm-4pm EST airing select coverage LIVE from Piers 92/94 on Nat Geo WILD

Select Coverage of Breed Judging for Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Breeds
Select Coverage of the 4th Annual Masters Obedience Championship

7pm-7:30pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on FS1

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Pre-Show Programming

7:30pm-11pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on FS1

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Group Competitions of the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups

And for Tuesday:
1pm-4pm EST airing select coverage LIVE from Piers 92/94 on Nat Geo WILD

Select Coverage of Breed Judging

7pm-7:30pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on FS1

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Pre-Show Programming, including portion of the Junior Showmanship Finals.

7:30pm-11pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on FS1

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Group Competitions of the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Best in Show Competition

For our Canadian friends:
Monday:
7pm-7:30pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on Nat Geo

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Pre-Show Programming

7:30pm-11pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on Nat Geo

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Group Competitions of the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups

Tuesday:
7pm-7:30pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on Nat Geo

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Pre-Show Programming

7:30pm-11pm EST airing LIVE from Madison Square Garden on Nat Geo

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Group Competitions of the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Best in Show Competition

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>