The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the biggest and best-known dog shows in the world, and one of North America’s longest running sporting events. Every February for the past 135 years, dog breeders from all over have gathered in Midtown Manhattan
to compete, show their incredible dogs and reward greatness. In total, 2,500 dogs from 185 officially recognized breeds take part. Judges represent the most respected and successful breeders in their groups, approved by the American Kennel Club.
The event is held over two days at Madison Square Garden
. On the day entries are accepted, the available slots are full within hours. Audience seats go on sale in the fall, and they also sell out fast. The entire event has been televised live since 1948, and it is consistently one of the highest-rated sports broadcasts in the United States.
The 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be held at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday, February 11-12, 2013. More breeds will be featured this year in the past, including "classic" breads not typically associated with dog shows. Breed judging
- at the Piers - takes place during the day, with group judging held in the evenings. Judging for Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding breeds occurs on Monday, with Sporting, Working and Terrier breeds and groups judged on Tuesday. Best in Show
- as well as a few other top categories - is judged last, on Tuesday night.
You can buy tickets for breed judging at the Piers or the big events at night at Madison Square Garden. For $160, you'll get access to the whole event. A reserved spot for the main events costs a little less, $110. Tickets for the Piers are a lot cheaper, at $25 per day.
If you plan to attend, consider a convenient, affordable Midtown Manhattan vacation rental for your stay. But you don’t have to get tickets to the show in order to sense its presence in New York City. During every day of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Empire State Building shines the Westminster colors of purple and gold on its tower. Stores put on special window displays honoring dogs, and the winner gets to ring the New York Stock Exchange opening bell on the morning after his or her historic win.
An Historic Sporting Event
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is older than the light bulb, and it has been in existence longer than the car. This most famous of dog shows was first held in May of 1877 to display hunting dogs such as setters and pointers. The name of the event came from the Westminster Hotel, where the show’s organizers met regularly. The Westminster Kennel Club came later, created specifically to organize the annual dog show. Today, only the Kentucky Derby has been running longer.
Judging Best in Show
Dogs entered into the WKC dog show are up against stiff competition. Each dog is judged against the standards of their breed, to see how closely it matches the ideal. This could include features such as color, tail position and eye shape.
Over the two days of the event, there are breed level competitions, then group competitions and then the final competition, which will select one dog as Best in Show. Over 180 breeds—with new breeds added each year—are placed into seven groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.
In 2012, Best in Show went to “Malachy,” an impressive Pekingese.
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