Another dog star will be born in New York City as the city gears up to host the crown jewel of dog shows, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Feb. 14 and 15.
David Frei and sportscaster Mary Carillo, a veteran sideline reporter and tennis analyst who’s covered numerous Olympic Games, will co-host the 135th annual event.
“So many of the dogs, they really are jocks,” Carillo told the New York Daily News. “These are trained athletes, and they are judged on that.”
Carillo grew up in Queens, N.Y., and played on the professional tennis tour from 1977-80 and won the French Open mixed doubles title with John McEnroe in 1977. She and her 5-year-old West Highland White Terrier Roxy now live in the West Village, not far from Westminster’s famed home, Madison Square Garden.
Some 2,600 dogs are entered in the competition this year, representing a total of 179 breeds. The highest breed entry this year is the Rhodesian Ridgeback with 56. Other top entries include Golden Retrievers (46), French Bulldogs (44), Vizslas (40), Australian Shepherds (39), Labrador Retrievers (38), German Shorthaired Pointers (36), Pugs (33) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (31).
Six newly AKC-recognized breeds will compete for the first time this year, including the Boykin Spaniel, Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, Cane Corso, Leonberger and Icelandic Sheepdog.
Monday’s Group competition includes Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding followed on Tuesday by Sporting, Working, Terrier Groups, and the crowning of Best in Show.
This year, Best in Show judge is Paola Dondina, who hails from Monterchi, Italy. He heads a panel of 32 judges from 15 states and three foreign countries.
Live coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be Monday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on USA Network, and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on CNBC; then Tuesday from 8 to 11 p.m. on USA.
For more info, visit DogChannel’s Westminster Unleashed.