What I know (so far) about the 144thannual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
*all photos by Westminister Kennel Club*
The title of this blog will come off as foolish to anyone who has ever been to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City, or to anyone who has even streamed or watched the event on television since there are always big surprises at Westminster. Dogs rumoured to have retired show up and win big. Top dogs in their home country getting no love – even at the breed level. Celebrity sightings. Insane weather. When it comes to Westminster, I’ve learned that it’s best to expect the unexpected.
All that being said – there’s one month left until the 2020 Best in Show winner is crowned at Westminster and here’s what I expect: Canadian dogs to do extremely well. Anyone in the fancy knows that Canadian dogs clean up at Westminster. We don’t have nearly as many dogs entered as do our American friends, but we never head home without many impressive brags. Canadian dogs have won the Garden six times and rarely is there a final seven in the Best in Show ring that does not include a Canadian dog. In 2015 we had three Canadian bred dogs in the Best in Show ring – and if that isn’t a testament to the quality of dogs we breed here up north, I don’t know what is.
Westminster will be a bit different this year. Usually the breed judging occurs in Piers 92 and 94 during the Monday and Tuesday of Westminster week, but this year due to the consolidation of the club’s venue into Pier 94 only, there are some changes. These changes include three days of breed judging (Sunday-Tuesday) at Pier 94. The Breed judging will go: Herding and Hound Groups on Sunday, Terrier, Toy and Non-Sporting Groups on Monday, Sporting and Working Groups on Tuesday.
Regular Westminster Group judging will happen in the evenings of Monday and Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. The schedule of Group judging at the Garden will go: Hound, Toy, Non- Sporting and Herding Groups on Monday night. Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups followed by Best in Show on Tuesday night. The Masters Obedience Championship will take place on Sunday at Pier 94 and the Junior Showmanship preliminaries on Monday - Tuesday at Pier 94 with the Finals held on Tuesday evening at the Garden before Group judging commences.
2,630 champions (this year’s entries were limited to champions only) from 204 breeds and 20 countries are planning to grace the Big Apple and strut their stuff in a mere matter of weeks. We will be cheering on the 63 Canadian dogs competing. Here are some numbers regarding entries per Group:
The Golden Retriever is not only the most entered Sporting breed, but also the most entered breed of the show. 48 gorgeous Goldens will all be trying to score Best of Breed on Tuesday. There are 44 Labrador Retrievers entered and only two American Water Spaniels. None of these breeds have won the Garden, although a Golden Retriever took the Sporting Group in both 1968 then again in 2006.
On Sunday, Dachshunds will
dominate with 55 entries (this number includes all varieties)
during the Hound breeds judging. On the less popular end, there’s only one English Fox Hound and one Sloughi entered. No Dachshund, Foxhound or Sloughi has taken Best in Show at Westminster. A Standard Longhaired Dachshund named “Burns” took the Hound Group last year under Judge Pat Trotter.
Of the 399 dogs from the Working Group entered for Tuesday, 30 of them are Bernese Mountain Dogs. There are 26 Samoyeds entered and only one Komondor competing at Westminster 2020. None of these three breeds have won the Garden; however, the Working Group has gone to two Bernese Mountain Dogs (1985 & 1999). A Samoyed took Group in 2016 and a Komondor did in 1993.
It’s no secret that the Terriers rule when it comes to winning big at Westminster. A Wire Fox Terrier won the Garden last year, and 14 other Wire Fox Terriers did before him. A member of the Terrier Group has won Best in Show at Westminster 47 times. That’s more than any other Group. This year, the most entries in the Terrier Group is tied with 18 entries between the West Highland White and the Kerry Blue Terriers. Two Westies have won the Garden- One in 1942 and one in 1962. In 2003, a Kerry Blue named CH Torums Scarf Michael won Westminster.. He was also the 2000 Best in Show
winner at Crufts
, and the 2002 winner of the AKC
National Invitational Championship.
The small but mighty Toy Group will enter the breed rings at Pier 94 and the Group ring at Madison Square Garden on Monday. The largest breed entry in the Toy Group is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with 34 entries. Other Toy breeds with high entries include the Chinese Crested Dog with 28 entries and the Pomeranian with 27. Neither a Cavalier nor a Crested has won Best in Show at Westminster; however, a Pomeranian won in 1988. The Pekingese is the winningest Toy breed at Westminster with four Best in Shows and most Group wins with 26. 11 Peeks are entered this year.
The Group with the lowest overall entries is the Non-Sporting Group with 261 dogs entered for the 144th
annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This isn’t surprising as this Group has much fewer members than most of the other Groups. But none of this means breed entries in this Group are low! There are 32 French Bulldogs, 26 Bichon Frises and 24 Boston Terriers entered on Monday, February 10. Neither a Frenchie nor a Boston has won the Garden. A Bichon has won twice, most recently in 2018 by a dog named “Flynn”.
The newest Group to be judged at Westminster is the Herding Group. The Herding Group was first shown at Westminster in 1983. Before that, most of the Herding breeds belonged to the Working Group. The largest number of entries in the Herding Group is tied between the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature American Shepherd with 28 entries. There are only three Swedish Vallhunds competing at Westminster this year and two Entlebucher Mountain Dogs. None of the breeds mentioned in the Herding Group have won Best in Show at the Garden. The only breed mentioned with Group placements is the Australian Shepherd with the two Group 3s, two Group 2s and a Group 1 which was in 2008.
The excitement of Westminster is already being felt throughout the dog world. Stay tuned to the Canadian Kennel Club’s social media and be sure to follow the CKC on Twitter at @ckc4thedogs for all the great Canadian brags at the 144th
annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!
Westminsterkennelclub.org. (2020). The 144th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
. [online] Available at: https://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/e-press-kit/the-144th-annual-westminster-kennel-club-dog-show-expands-to-three-days-in-new-york-city
*all photos by Westminister Kennel Club*