3,200 dogs set to strut at Westminster show next month

  • Jan. 30, 2018 1:46 p.m.

NEW YORK — In the Year of the Dog, which one will have its day at the Westminster Kennel Club show?

About 3,200 dogs are getting ready for America’s most prominent canine competition, set for Feb. 10, 12 and 13. As it happens, this year’s Best in Show winner will hold the title during the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Dog, which begins a few days later.

“Of course, every year is the year of the dog at Westminster,” show spokeswoman Gail Miller Bisher said at a news conference Wednesday.

The televised show centres on picking the top purebred dog from as many as 202 breeds and varieties at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

But Westminster’s agility contest this year includes a record 29 mixed-breed dogs, about 9 per cent of the total agility field. Added five years ago, agility has become a popular feature: The televised final round is expanding this year to 60 dogs, instead of 50.

A wirehaired dachshund named Nova hopes she’ll be one of them — or at least owner Sara Zislin does. It’s the first Westminster trip for both.

Short-legged, long-bodied dachshunds aren’t too common on agility courses, but 4-year-old Nova took to the sport right away after seeing Zislin’s mother practice with her border collies.

“She wanted a turn,” says Zislin, of Trenton, New Jersey. “I’m so impressed by her. I love representing a different breed.”

Westminster has often drawn protests from animal-rights activists who oppose dog breeding, and show organizers this year are seeking to emphasize purebred fanciers’ commitment to dogs. A new award recognizes breed clubs for rescuing their breed’s dogs when needed: The first winners are clubs supporting the bearded collie , English cocker spaniel and great Pyrenees .

Great Pyrenees Club of America volunteers took in over 80 of the large, livestock-guarding dogs last year from a Florida home where they were neglected, said Rhonda Dalton, a longtime club member from Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.

The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America Health and Welfare Organization rescued about 55 cockers a few years ago from a Wisconsin home, raising $55,000 to cover dental work and other care they needed, members said.

“We do it all because we want these dogs to have a good life,” said founder Dr. Marsha Wallace of Alexandria, Virginia.

Each of the three clubs will be presented with $5,000.

The Westminster show will be televised on various 21st Century Fox-owned channels; some early rounds are also being streamed on the club’s website. Best in Show judging will be on FS1 on the night of Feb. 13.

Just Posted

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Stettler RCMP search for suspects

Attempted theft of an ATM

Sign cost a concern for some in Red Deer

Installation complete on south end welcome signs

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie… Continue reading

Still-active human rights case speaks to lasting homophobia in Canada: activists

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Just over 14 years ago, the government of… Continue reading

Alberta missionaries among the Canadians heading home from riot-stricken Haiti

MONTREAL — A Canadian couple who had to leave Haiti due to… Continue reading

Man charged in daughter’s death in hospital with self-inflicted gunshot wound: police

Police say a man charged with first-degree murder in the death of… Continue reading

Most Read