For many people nationwide the New Year is celebrated on January 1st by tuning into the ball dropping in Times Square, but the celebration for dog fanciers takes place in February. For the last 134 years dog fanciers have come together to commemorate the past year and the coming new year in Madison Square Garden at a multi-day extravaganza hosted by the Westminster Kennel Club.
2009 Westminster Kennel Club Best In Show Winner
The Sussex Spaniel
CH Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee
On February 15th 2,500 of the top dogs from across the country (actually, in some cases across the globe) will congregate for two days before the largest audience in the dog world. Many of the dogs will come from within a few hours of Manhattan, but like last year, California will send the most entries for the show, 251 dogs. It must be in the sunshine, or perhaps the oranges, because Florida is also sending a large contingent, 124 Floridian pups will be represented at this year’s show. Entries will come from all over the United States and some entries will even hail from foreign nations too. Breeds with the highest number of entries are the most competitive, because it is that much harder to win Best of Breed and move on to the group competition. The winner of each group competition will compete for the coveted Best In Show. The breed with the most number of entries comes from the three varieties of Dachshunds with 63 dogs competing. The next highest entries are from the Australian Shepherds with 44 entrants, followed by the Rhodesian Ridgebacks with 43, the Labrador Retrievers with 42, and my personal favorite the Golden Retrievers with 40 entries.
The AKC represents 173 AKC breeds and varieties, and all 173 will be witnessed at Westminster. For the first time ever three breeds will be making their Westminster debut: the Norwegian Buhund, the Irish Red and White Setter, and the Pyrenean Shepherd. You can anticipate seeing all of 2009’s top ten ranked dogs at this year’s show, and the majority of dogs currently ranked thus far in the 2010 top ten standings. Westminster will have more top ranked dogs competing than any other show all year.
Mark your calendars for the television broadcasts February 15th and 16th, Monday and Tuesday evenings, from 8:00PM to 11:00PM Eastern Standard Time. Tune into USA network for Monday night’s broadcast during the first hour, and then switch to CNBC for the last two hours of the show. On Tuesday night USA will broadcast all three hours of the most competitive dog show of the year!
I encourage you to visit the Westminster Kennel Club website to learn more – the site is filled with all sorts of great information about the competition. For an opportunity to chat live with other dog enthusiasts during the competition, one of my favorite blogs, Dog Show Poop, will be hosting a Garden Party, an interactive live chat room, on Monday and Tuesday, February 15th and 16th, from 8:00PM to 11:00PM during the competition.