Boy, do I ever love the middle of February! Not only do I get to eat chocolate on Valentine’s Day, but I get to enjoy the best of the best when it comes to full bred dogs. That’s right, it’s time once again for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show! This year is the show’s 136th year, making it second-longest continuously running sporting event (just behind the Kentucky Derby), and the fun starts February 13.
This year, six new breeds will make their appearance at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. These breeds are now recognized by the American Kennel Club and will strut their stuff alongside breeds that have been there since the beginning. The new breeds are:
- American English Coonhound (Hound group)
- Cesky Terrier (Terrier group)
- Entlebucher Mountain Dog ( Herding group)
- Finnish Lapphund (Herding group)
- Norwegian Lundehund (Non-sporting group)
- Xoloitzcuintli (Non-sporting group)
The schedule of events is well planned out. Two thousand dogs will compete in seven groups:
- Hound: This group contains breeds like Foxhounds, Basset Hounds and Beagles, as well as Greyhounds, Whippets and Borzois.
- Toy: Toy breeds like Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers and Pugs make up this diminutive group.
- Non-sporting: This is very diverse group. Its members include the Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Lhasa Apso, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier and the Bulldog.
- Herding: This one is the newest group and includes Corgis, Border Collies, German Shepherds and several kinds of sheepdogs.
- Sporting: This group is made up of typical hunting companions, including spaniels, retrievers and pointers.
- Working: These dogs are generally large in size and ready to help. Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Rottweilers are part of the Working Group.
- Terrier: This group consists of 28 breeds of terriers, including the Welsh Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer.
Four groups compete on Monday (Hound, Toy, Non-sporting and Herding), and the last three will compete on Tuesday. It all comes down to the grand finale Tuesday night, when the coveted title of “Best in Show” will be handed out.
The playing field is wide open – any breed could take it, and age is only a number in this competition. The proof is in the pudding – in 2008, the winner was a 3-year-old Beagle named Uno, and then in 2009, a Sussex Spaniel named Stump won the title at 10 years, 2 months, and 9 days old! The youngest winner in the show’s history was a 9-month-old Rough Collie, who took the title back in 1929.
Whether your heart belongs to a mixed-breed or a purebred dog, it’s hard for dog lovers not to be drawn to the big showdown each February. I hope you tune in, too!