Monday, April 27, 2015

W -- Westminster

The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is probably the most iconic of all dog shows. It takes over New York City on a Monday and Tuesday in February every year. The show has grown so large that benching and individual breed competitions are held at The Piers (12th Avenue at 55th Street) during the day from 8 AM to 4 PM. You can watch everything online via live streaming. Best in Group competitions are held in the evenings at Madison Square Garden and televised worldwide, with four groups showing Monday and the remaining three on Tuesday. Tuesday evening culminates with all the group winners competing for Best in Show. Even non dog show people will watch, often rooting for their favorite dogs.

Here are some interesting facts you may not know about the Westminster Kennel Club:
  • The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is the second oldest continuous sporting event in the United States. (The Kentucky Derby is the older by two years.)
  • The first Westminster Kennel Club dog show was held on May 8, 1877.
  • The Westminster Kennel Club dog show predates the inventions of the light bulb and the automobile. And the Westminster Kennel Club was holding dog shows before the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument.
  • The show is benched, which means the dogs must be on public display throughout the entire competition.
  • Dogs are invited to compete based on strict entry requirements, including how many other dogs they've defeated in breed competitions.
  • Non invited dogs can also compete if they have won a certain number of major dog show Awards.
  • Terriers have won the most Best in Show titles at Westminster, with 46 wins as of 2015.
  • 47 different breeds have won Best in Show awards.
  • Only one German Shepherd has won Best in Show at Westminster. That was Covy Tucker Hill's Manhattan, who won in 1987.
  • The next show is February 15 and 16, 2016. Mark your calendars now!
The 2014 Best In Show Trophy was awarded to "GCH Afterall Painting The Sky" (AKA Sky) a Wire Fox Terrier.
I have never been to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. It's definitely on my bucket list. I dream about going every year. I even found a tour company that offers a Westminster package which includes hotel stay, a private reception, day and evening tickets, an official program and shuttle service. They'll even book a Broadway show for you in case you get tired of looking at dogs. As if! Now if only I could find an extra $1800 . . . and airfare . . . sigh. -- K

Tomorrow's Topic: X-Rays and Genetic Tests