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

Tens of thousands across the US march for gun control

WASHINGTON — Summoned by student survivors of the Florida school shooting, tens… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort season wraps up Sunday

Central Alberta skiers and snowboarders only have a couple more days to… Continue reading

Future space crunch is feared, as no new schools for Red Deer are in the budget

Only local modernization will be at Father Lacombe Catholic School in Lacombe

A million dollars for Red Deer hospital is not nearly enough, says Mayor Veer

Mayor is concerned Red Deer hospital is still not on province’s five-year capital list

WATCH: Hundreds come to Red Deer Rebels Fan Fest

The Red Deer Rebels met with legions of their of fans just… Continue reading

Supreme Court rules former Stephen Harper aide guilty of influence peddling

OTTAWA — Canada’s highest court has upheld an influence peddling conviction against… Continue reading

2 killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

PARIS — An armed man took hostages in a supermarket in southern… Continue reading

READER PHOTO: Red Deer students celebrate Canadian courage at Juno Beach

Teenagers from Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School are learning about… Continue reading

UN report: Loss of plants, animals making a lonelier planet

WASHINGTON — New United Nations scientific reports diagnose that Earth is getting… Continue reading

Excavator frees dolphins trapped by pack ice in Newfoundland harbour

HEARTS DELIGHT, N.L. — A pod of dolphins trapped by pack ice… Continue reading

Structure fire destroys home in Mirror

A house in Mirror is completely damaged due to an overnight structure… Continue reading

Trudeau warns senators not to thwart will of Canadians on marijuana bill

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding senators that his government… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month