Viewers who tune in to the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, set for Feb. 13 and 14 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, can expect more breeds and fewer entries.
The American English Coonhound, Cesky Terrier, Norwegian Lundehund, Xoloitzcuintli, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, and Finnish Lapphund are eligible to make their Westminster debuts in 2012, bringing the number of breeds and varieties eligible for the show to 185.
Although more types of dogs are set to appear, entries will be limited to 2,000 this year, instead of the usual 2,500, due to renovations under way at Madison Square Garden.
If you watch the Best in Show portion of the event, you’ll see head judge Cindy Vogels of Greenwood Village, Colo., select this year’s champion. In partnership with her mother, Vogels has bred more than 100 Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier champions, and she currently serves as the chairman of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.
Also new this year is the official pet food sponsor, with Nestlé Purina forming a multiyear partnership with Westminster. “Through our Purina Pro Plan brand dog food, Purina has reached out to the dog fancy as a longtime sponsor of hundreds of conformation dog shows and sporting events each year,’’ says Candy Caciolo, portfolio director of specialty, breeder, and pet acquisition at Purina. “Now, through our Westminster sponsorship, we are able to support those who bring their finest to compete at this top-echelon dog show known worldwide.’’
On Feb. 13, live coverage of the show goes from 8 to 9 p.m. EST on USA Network and 9 to 11 p.m. EST on CNBC. Continued live coverage on USA Network will be on Feb. 14 from 8 to 11 p.m. EST.