America’s Dog Show
Reinforcing Westminster’s contention that this is “America’s Dog Show,” dogs are entered from all fifty states and Washington, D.C. as well as several other nations. The state of New York—no surprise there—has the most dogs entered, 287. In second place, the great state of California, with 228 dogs, all of which are traveling much farther to get to the show grounds. Our neighbor to the north, Canada has the most foreign entries, over 100. Of the 2,721 dogs entered at Westminster this year, the Sporting Group accounts for the most entries, with 545. America’s two favorite retriever breeds lead the entries: Golden Retrievers are represented by 61 dogs and Labrador Retrievers by 54. All 187 breeds and varieties are represented this year, including give breeds with single entries.
The Westminster Crush
In describing the “great success” of the first Westminster Kennel Club dog show in May 1877, the New York Times reported that “the crush was so great that the streets outside were blocked…almost at the opening hour and continued until the close…” For anyone who’s visited the show in New York, “the crush” and the excitement inside the Garden and on 33rd Street are very much intact. Sold-out crowds, celebrity sightings, four-legged super stars, and the pulse of New York City make Westminster a true annual spectacle that dog lovers live for once a year.
New Champion at Westminster
From 1991 through 2012, Westminster was a “Champions Only” show, meaning only dogs who had won their AKC championships were eligible to enter. This year eligibility was expanded so that any dog that has one a three-point “major” at a dog show can enter to compete in the classes (American-bred, Bred-by-Exhibitor and Open). For the first time since 1990, a dog can finish his championship with his win at Westminster, and to commemorate that special purple and gold accomplishment, the club is offering special bronze medallion to all new Champions.
Another first for the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club dog show is that the breed judging of all 187 breeds and varieties will be streamed online in “real time.” Dog lovers can, click here to watch their favorite breeds being judged. You can find the Judging Program 2013 on the website, and the times of each breed judging is listed on pages 14-16. Many breeds will be judged at the same time since there are multiple judges working in multiple rings, and some breeds will be listed in the same ring at the same time, so refer to the daily ring schedules (pages 17-23) to find out the order of the breeds that the judge will be judging.
Reserve Best in Show
The 2013 Westminster show will be the first time since 1925 that a Reserve Best in Show will be awarded, selected by the judge after Best in Show. Airedale Terrier War Bride of Davishill was the last dog to receive a Reserve BIS at WKC in 1915. The Reserve BIS was awarded at WKC from 1911 through 1925 and will be reinstated this year in accordance with a new AKC rule from 2012. The Kennel Club of England and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale both allow for Reserve BIS awards in their shows.
Another Coonhound in New York City
Usually when a new breed comes into the American Kennel Club, it’s still rare and unknown, such is not the case with the Treeing Walker Coonhound, a breed that has ranked Number One in United Kennel Club registration statistics, even outnumbering the Labrador Retriever. The Treeing Walker Coonhound becomes the sixth coonhound to compete at the show, following the Black and Tan, Redbone, American English, Bluetick, and Plott.
What’s a Russell Terrier?
Everyone’s hearing about the “new” breed, the Russell Terrier, and one and all are a bit confused about these little English fox terriers with a curiously familiar name. The Russell Terrier is in fact competing at Westminster for the first time in 2013. Here’s the background of this terrier which of course derives from the ubiquitous Jack Russell Terrier. Not registered by any national club for many years, the Jack Russell Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1991 and by the American Kennel Club in 1997. As seen in America, the breed came in two types, long-legged and short-legged, though the long-legged dogs were favored by most fanciers. In 2003, the AKC changed the name to Parson Russell Terriers, the name used in England and Australia; five years later the UKC adopted the name as well. The short-legged dogs became known as Russell Terriers and were accepted by UKC in 2001 and by AKC in 2012. To confuse matters a bit, the UKC changed the Russell Terrier’s name back to Jack Russell Terrier in 2008. Thus, a Parson is a Parson, but a UKC Jack is an AKC Russell. Now you know, sort of.
Best in Show
The Best in Show trophy at Westminster is the most coveted prize in the American dog show world. For the first three decades of the show, however, Best in Show was not awarded. The first Best in Show ribbon was awarded in 1907 to Smooth Fox Terrier Ch. Warren Remedy, who actually won three years in a row. Best in Show was also not awarded in 1923 when it was banned by AKC. It has been awarded every year since. One hundred years ago, in 1913, the Westminster Best in Show winner was Bulldog Ch. Strathtay Prince Albert, the first non-Terrier ever to win the show. Nevertheless, Terriers continue to reign supreme at Westminster, having topped the show an astonishing 45 times, well over twice the victories of the nearest contender, the Sporting Dogs with 19 BIS victories.
GCH Palacegarden Malachy, the Pekingese, won Best in Show at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club dog show, handled by his co-owner David Fitzpatrick. After repeating his Toy Group victory from 2011, Malachy went on to become the fourth Peke to win Best in Show at Westminster. Pekingese have placed more times in the Group than any other breed, a total of 63, topping even the Wire Fox Terrier, whose won its Group 53 times.
Madison Square Garden
The first show of the Westminster Kennel Club took place in 1877 at Glimore’s Garden, which was renamed Madison Square Garden in 1879. A new arena was erected in 1880 on the same site, 26th Street and Madison Avenue, and this venue was used for nearly fifty years. In 1925 a third arena was built on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, and many sporting events called this Madison Square Garden home for years, including the Westminster Kennel Club. After the 1968 WKC dog show, this venue closed its doors, and Madison Square Garden moved to its current location over Penn Station (on 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) where the WKC show has resided every year since.