Usually Breed Judging spans over 2 days at Pier 92 and 94 on the shore of the Hudson River and then Group Judging happens in the evening at Madison Square Garden. But this year, due to upgrades at Pier 92, Breed Judging was 3 days with Hound and Herding Groups on Sunday, Sporting, Toy and Non-Sporting on Monday and the Working and Terrier Groups on Tuesday. Junior Handling, Group Judging and Best in Show remained on the usual Westminster schedule. Although I didn’t have a day “off” to go to Central Park, hang out with my cousin or revisit the AKC Museum of the Dog (which is incredible by the way), I liked having all the Breed Judging go for three days for a few reasons. All the judging happened on one floor so I didn’t have to risk my life on that staircase going from Pier 92 to 94, it was easier to get from ring to ring because, as luck would have it, all my friends were in the ring at the exact same time and I feel it made the event less stressful for handlers, especially those showing multiple dogs.
Canadians always knock it out of the park at Westminster and this year was no exception. 63 of the nearly 2,630 Champion Dogs entered were Canadian and did they ever make their mark! We had 9 Canadian-bred dogs go Best of Breed or higher this year!
The first win came early on Sunday morning. 15” Beagle GCH Gwencalon’s Tam O’Shanter took Breed again this year under Judge Edmund Dziuk. Tam is owned by his breeders Kathleen and William Friend. He is shown by Doug Belter.
Shea impressed Judge Linda Hurlebaus so much so that she gave the handsome Pharaoh Hound Best of Breed at Westminster 2020. GGCH Osiris Ricochet XO’s breeders are Kathy and Brittany Carella. He is owned by Stephanie Unger and Brittany Carella. Shea is shown by David Rodriguez.
Judge Gretchen Bernardi picked GCH Hollyrood Cosmopollyton to represent the Scottish Deerhounds in the Group ring at Madison Square Garden. Polly is proudly owned by her breeders Heidi Gervais and Lynne Bruce. Heidi Gervais handled Polly to an awesome Group 2nd! Polly was definitely a crowd favourite at the Garden!
Canadians were incredibly strong in the Herding Group on the Monday night of Westminster week. Another of Louise and Elaine Paquette’s Quiche Bouvier des Flandres won Best of Breed under Judge Elliott Weiss. GCH Quiche’s Phoenix Rising aka Phoenix was shown by Elaine Paquette. He is owned by his breeders and Julianna Garrison. Fun fact: Elaine Paquette is considered the most successful breeder/owner/handler in Canada’s history.
Breed Judge Michael Faulkner chose GCH TsarShadow’s Ragnar Lodbrok to represent the Norwegian Buhunds at Madison Square Garden. Ragnar was once again shown on the green carpet by Doug Belter. He is proudly owned by his breeder Dawne Deeley.
Judge Eric Liebes pointed and said “Best of Breed” to Belgian Tervuren GCH MNM’s Soleila du Belgiador. Soul is proudly owned by Don French and her breeder is Muriel Tingley. Soul is handled by Emily Bourdon.
Elliott Weiss judged the Old English Sheepdogs at Westminster this year and sent GCH Bagatelle Moonlight Drive to the Garden. Sophia shined in front of the cameras and took an incredible Group 2nd under Shirley Limoges of Ottawa! Sophia’s proud breeders are Roberta Corbett, Bernard and Joanne Charest. She is owned by her breeders and Linda Menard. Sophia is handled by Clifford Steele.
Judge John Constantine-Amodei selected Canadian-bred West Highland White Terrier as his pick for Best of Breed! Hudson’s breeders are Lindy Barrow and Antonio Celso Mollo. He is owned by Lindy Barrow and shown by Courtney Kniola.
How great was it to see a Canadian-bred dog take Best of Breed for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers? GCH Roaneden’s Dream Catch was Judge Kenneth Berg’s choice to show at the Garden. Falco is proudly owned his breeder Christine Jones as well as Simon Robin and Stephanie Chaloux. Falco is shown by Emily and Graeme Burdon.
There were also tons of Canadian owned and handled dogs at Westminster this year that took Best of Breed or even higher. Some examples that come to mind are the Dogue de Bordeaux Best of Breed winner (Canadian-owned), the Affenpinscher Group 4 winner (Canadian handled) and the Beauceron Group 3 winner (Canadian owned and handled). Even Siba the Best in Show winning Standard Poodle is handled by Chrystal Clas, a Canadian who now lives with her family in Massachusetts. Chrystal’s mother is Michelle Scott, a Canadian Kennel Club conformation judge. Congratulations to all winners!
Westminster is a whirlwind of incredible dogs, fantastic sportsmanship and many proud moments for us Canadians. It’s so great to be able to look back on how our country did at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I’m already looking forward to heading back to Manhattan next February! Will I see you and your dog there?