Deck the halls with purple and gold, it’s that time of year again: The Westminster Dog show, now in its 143rd year. Follow along with me while it’s broadcast on TV – FOX Sports in the U.S. and National Geographic channel in Canada, 7:00 pm EST both Monday, February 11 and Tuesday, February 12, 2019.
First up … Monday night.
After two days of breed specific ring competitions at Pier 92 in NYC, the excited winners of Best in Breed make their way to the Madison Square Gardens’ evening event – 2800 dogs were judged this weekend.
Sight hounds and scent hounds join the Hound Group, the first in the ring Monday evening. Each breed gets introduced according to their former occupation, now mostly a historical reference. The 13-inch beagle was particularly charming when he broke into a full cater around the ring.
My favourite? The always elegant long-haired dachshund whose fur flowed at full gallop. My second pick is the Saluki, a royal dog of Egypt; this one mostly black with beige triangular chest markings.
The Winner: The crowd-pleasing long-haired dachshund. I go this one … with a little help from the audience. Second is whippet and third is the 13-inch beagle.
Next, the popular Toy Group elicits awes from the crowd … the slower and lower to the ground, the cuter. Often they don’t make it all the way around ring,’ cause ain’t nobody got time for that. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel recieved a lot of woos, but the pug was the real audience pleaser. And did you know the Havanese is the only breed native to Cuba? My choice to win: The Papillion.
The Winner: The Havanese. Second the Pug and third the Yorkie.
The Non-sporting, a catch-all class, was next.
Many will recognize their family pets in this class and that’s obvious when the fluffy Bichon Frise provokes oohs from the audience. But it’s the Boston Terrier everyone loves. Following a close second in cuteness is the breed I mix up with the Boston: the French Bulldog, or Frenchie. My money’s on the bulldog.
The judge wasn’t swayed by crowd opinion, but the Frenchie did make the final cut.
The Winner: The Schipperke. Second the French Bulldog and third the Chow.
Finally, the Herding Class.
With 61 entries, Herding is the largest class of the night and audience members are noticeably tiring. Fortunately, the dogs are primed and ready to go. The beautiful Belgian Tervuren particularly stunning but it’s the Collie that’s got someone worked up in the crowd, shouting “just give her the trophy.” Dog enthusiasts can be a rowdy bunch. The recognizable German Shepard always stirs emotions.
My choice? The Spanish Water Dog primarily because he’s a Canuck from Calgary, Alberta.
The Winner: Bouvier des Flaundres (also from Canada). Second is the Border Collie and third is the German Shepherd.
All four winners move onto Best of Show finales Tuesday, February 13, 2019, 7 pm.
Whether you’re a pure breed fan or not, Westminster is full of dog love. And it’s a good opportunity to see what type of dog suits your personality and lifestyle (especially at the Meet and Compete).
Pure breeds end up in shelters too, more often than you’d think. Plus, plenty of breed-specific rescues exist. (Check out Pawlooza and similar events to see how many). So, rescue is possible, folks, even if you’ve got your heart set on an English Cocker Spaniel or pug.
In fact, the American Kennel Club donates $5000 to three breed-specific rescues each year, donating the proceeds to the Westminster Poster sales.