15 Feb 12

Pek is the Pick, Westminster ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

A new dog is crowned the best in show for the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Pekingese GCH Palacegarden Malachy and did you know the Best in Show (BIS) judge is from Long Island?  While I was cheering for Fifi the Doberman to win, (for obvious reasons) she didn’t grab the BIS title.  The Westminster Dog Show is the Superbowl of dog shows and with 2,000 dogs competing this year at Madison Square Garden, I would not want to have to pick the winner!  People come from all over the country and the world to compete or just to attend as a spectator.

After being at Westminster all day on Valentine’s day, I was reading the guide and record and it occurred to me, the 136 Annual dog show.  That’s 136 years this show has been happening, and started back in 1876, really quite remarkable.  Another piece of interesting history, for all you history buffs out there – did you know that the Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show is one of only 3 tenants to have been in every one of the four different incarnations of Madison Square Garden – and Westminster started prior to the first MSG location.  MSG was originally it was called Gillmore’s Gardens and was located at 26th and Madison Avenue.  The current location of MSG is the fourth place MSG has been located.  Who knew?

The Clumber Spaniel was one of the first breeds in the early days of Westminster

As more and more dog breeds are accepted in the the American Kennel Club and now being shown at Westminster – there is a much broader scope of fans, onlookers and attendees at the show.  The show seemed a little more crowded to me this year than last and this year 6 new breeds were competing: the Cesky Terrier; Entlebucher Mountain Dog; Finnish Lapphund; Norwegian Lundehund (a dog with 6 toes on each foot); and probably the most unique looking dog the Xoloitzcuintli the national dog of Mexico – commonly called the ’show-low’ for short.  The hairless breed was originally called the Mexican Hairless – who knows why the name was changed, but really a cool looking dog.  I do however prefer dogs with fur! And even only last year the Cane Corso, once considered a rare breed was let into Westminster and I think there were 20 dogs competing today.

Cane Corso

Dog shows in my opinion have evolved in the way of the crowd – it’s not the average dog show person that you see at the event – but every day dog owners and dog lovers.  It’s such fun way to see so many breeds in one spot and have such an enthusiastic crowd at Westminster.  You can ask the handlers questions about the dogs, get ideas if a certain dog is for you, etc. Even Pet Celebrities like Victoria Stillwell was there meeting dogs and speaking with people.

Victoria Stillwell of Animal Planet's It's Me or the Dog

And if for some reason you can’t hop on the LIRR to head into the show next year, you can join in on their social media craze.  Social Media for Westminster has taken off like wild fire in the past two years.  The Facebook Page for Westminster has over 96 thousand fans and during the two days of the show fans watching the show were tweeting with the #WKC hashtag.  Last year the day after the BIS win – their website had 10.2 million page views – amazing!

As cool as that all is – we all just want to route for our favorite breed or local owner who has a dog in the show, like Lynn the only female Harlequin Great Dane that was in the Great Dane Ring today, Lynn is from Patchogue.  There are many stories like that and many dogs from Long Island who competed the last two days at Westminster.  Do you have a dog that competed from Long Island? (more pictures below)

Sleepy girl!

English Mastiff takes a rest right in the middle of the floor!

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