The 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show promises something for everyone. Whether you fancy watching the crème de la crème show dogs – some coming from international countries – or junior showmanship or the agility pros or the master obedience dogs, Westminster is worthy of reserving time to watch live on TV or in person.
If you are in New York, be sure to stop by the Purina Pro Plan VIP booth. It is easy to find in Pier 94 during the daytime breed judging. Here, you can pick up prizes, and if you are an active member of Purina Pro Club, you can take a moment to refresh with complimentary food and beverages.
The prestige of Westminster, established in 1877 and the oldest organization dedicated to purebred dogs, has drawn 2,282 dogs of 200 breeds and varieties to this year’s big event. California is home to most of the dogs, with 248 entered, followed by 238 dogs from New York. International entries include 102 dogs from Canada, seven from Mexico and Japan, five from Russia, plus dogs from Australia and China.
If you are feeling lucky or think you know which dogs might win the Groups and Best in Show, take a moment to enter the Purina Pro Plan $1 Million Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Bracket Challenge. By entering, you also will have a chance to win a daily prize of a year’s supply of Purina Pro Plan.
“The Westminster Dog Show is well-known for attracting the very best breed representatives,” says Purina Director of Marketing Heather Gettys. “We are proud to be the exclusive pet food sponsor. Purina Pro Plan is well-known for providing optimal nutrition to help show dogs perform at their very best. We are a good match.”
Kicking off Westminster Week on Feb. 10 is “Meet & Compete,” which is held at Piers 92 and 94. The action-packed day blends the ninth annual AKC Meet the Breeds® Presented by Purina Pro Plan and the fifth annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster. More than 100 dog breeds and 40 cat breeds are represented at Meet the Breeds, where the public can see the dogs and cats and learn about responsible pet ownership. More than 300 dogs vie for 12 spots on the Masters Agility Finals that will air the next day on FOX.
Breed judging at the all-breed benched dog show will be held Feb. 12 and 13, which also is at Piers 92 and 94. Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding breeds will be judged on Feb. 12, and Sporting, Working and Terrier Group, as well as Best in Show, is on Feb. 13. The highest breed entries are: Golden Retrievers with 50 dogs, French Bulldogs with 48, and Labrador Retrievers with 46. None of these breeds have yet won the coveted Best in Show at Westminster.
The third annual Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster will be a big attraction on Feb. 12 in Pier 94. The invitational only event, limited to 30 entries, will feature handler-dog teams judged on their accuracy and precision doing obedience exercises. Those who make it to the second round will wow the audience with a freestyle performance.
The evening Group judging at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 12 and 13 begins at 8 p.m. EST on FS1. Best in Show judge Betty-Anne Stenmark of Woodside, California, will make her pick following Groups on Feb. 13. A favorite among exhibitors, Stenmark was chosen to receive the Best Judge of the Year at the 2011 ShowDogs of the Year Awards. Having devoted a lifetime to the sport of dogs, Stenmark is making her 11th judging appearance at Westminster, though this is the first time she has judged Best in Show.
To plan your viewing of this famous dog show, here is the Westminster Week coverage of events offered by the Westminster Kennel Club.