Dog lovers are already looking forward to the 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show that is scheduled for February 13th and 14th this year at Madison Square Garden. Hundreds of the most extraordinary dogs from across the country will spend two full days competing for the honor of Best in Show and it attracts dog lovers by the thousands. If you’re new to the world of dog shows or are interested in attending this year, here is some background on the show, including its history and details on what to expect:
History of Westminster Club
The Westminster Club originally formed in Manhattan as a group of gentlemen who liked to gather at The Westminster Hotel to share hunting stories over drinks. Eventually, they formed a club and purchased a kennel for housing and training their hunting dogs. In 1877, they decided to organize a dog show at Gilmore’s Garden (later to become Madison Square Garden) that had 1,201 dog entrants. It drew such a crowd– 8,000 attendees the first day and 20,000 each on the second and third days– that they extended the show for a fourth day to meet the public demand. The show continued to be hosted each year, growing in popularity and expanding to include more dogs and more breeds until it became the national platform for competing show dogs that it is today.
Quick Facts About the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show
- First Televised: The show was first aired on television in 1948 and it’s been televised every year since.
- Full House: 2005 marked the first year that Madison Square Garden completely sold out for both days of the show. It was also the first year that the judging was broadcast live via streaming video on the Kennel Club’s website.
- 2016’s Winner: CJ, the German Shorthaired Pointer took the title of Best in Show last year, with a Borzoi named Lucy taking Reserve Best in Show.
- New Breeds Appearing This Year: It’s common for new breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club to make their debut at the dog show each year and 2017 will welcome three new breeds to the stage: the American Hairless Terrier, the Pumi (a Hungarian herding breed), and the Sloughi (a North African hound).
How to See the Show
Whether you want to curl up on the couch and watch the show with your favorite canine crew or get a front row view of all the breeds trotting along, there are plenty of ways to make sure you don’t miss out. If you are planning to attend, tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster via Madison Square Garden’s website and range from $40-$75. If you’d prefer to enjoy the show from the comfort of your home, you can join in with the millions of other dog enthusiasts who will watch the television broadcast or the live stream online. Whatever way you choose to watch, you’re sure to see hundreds of wonderful breeds at their best. May the Best in Show win!
And, as the perfect preparation for the Show, track down at Amazon the movie, Best In Show from the team that brought us This is Spinal Tap. It is a hilarious parody of a dog show much like Westminster and will provide a new point-of-view for watching the show!