Almost everyone knows the phrase ‘Best in Show’ – especially those who love dogs.
Even if you didn’t watch with awe the final night of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show finals televised from Madison Square Gardens on February 16, 2016, you likely know who was crowned ‘Best in Show.’
A German Shorthaired Pointer affectionately called “C.J.”
What you might not know is everything that let to him, and other competitors, getting into the finals ring both Monday and Tuesday nights.
The WKC Dog Show really starts in the afternoon, two days a year, in New York City at a location known as Pier 92 and 94. Here, almost 3,000 canine competitors (and their owners and handlers) start the WKC Dog Show process by entering a breed-specific category in one of ten rings and parading their posh pooches in front of judges (and the adoring public) trying to score the win of ‘Best in Breed.’
From here, the winners move onto the Group categories at the coveted evening competitions.
The Pier 92/94 afternoon event, open to anyone to mill around, is a Benched Dog Show, and Westminster is one of the few clubs that continues to host an event in this style. The dogs competing wait on rows of benches and grooming tables throughout the day. According to WKC, “this allows the public to easily see all the breeds entered, speak with owners, breeders and handlers to learn more about the dogs.”
… And maybe even pet a few. It’s the best place at the WKC Dog Show to get great pics, and most owners will happily oblige you, even helping stage their proud pets for the best shot. So, fill your camera with images of breeds you’ve never heard of, or head to your personal favourites. Pugs, Bull Terriers and Pomeranians are still crowd pleasers.
WKC Trivia to note:
The WKC Dog Show, first held in 1877, is America’s second-longest running continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. This year, NYC’s Empire State Building honoured the event’s 140th year by lighting up in purple and gold on the final night of competition.