The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the most popular shows not just in America but around the world. it is an all-breed conformation show dating some years back. Dogs in the competition are displayed in their assigned location, known as the benches, except for the ring display or during the elimination.
The main goal of the show has been to showcase the best of the best in dog breeds. The show advocates the need for dog owners to be responsible for their angry friends.
The show also raises awareness of the need to provide health, hygiene, and feeding to our dogs. More importantly, it also increases the pride of dog owners whose pets are the winners of the show.
The Westminster Kennel Club’s first dog show was in New York City. The show has kept its venue since May 8, 1877, except this year when it moves to Lyndhurst in Tarrytown.
It started with a small group of hunters who regularly met at the Westminster Hotel, hence the current name. Originally it was for hunting dogs, especially setters and pointers. It is these hunters who founded the kennel club, which was specially designed for holding a dog show.
During the first few years of this show, the victorious dogs and their handlers were awarded spear-grip pistols.
The show is the second largest non-stop sporting event in the country after the Kentucky Derby. The show was held even in difficult times like the Great Depression and World War and is scheduled for this year amid the current world pandemic; the contagious coronavirus.
The structure of the show
A breeder, employed specialist, or owner presents the dog to the judge. The person presenting the competing dog in front of the panelists is called the dog handler. The dogs are assessed based on their ability to contribute to and improve the next generation of dogs.
The competing dogs start in classes in which they collect points for the AKC championship. Usually, dogs win points against these defeated dogs. The more dogs that are defeated, the more points per victory.
All dogs that are invited to participate in the show are usually holders of outstanding AKC championship records and thus compete in the best-of-the-breed class. The class has two top awards; Best of the breed and best of the opposite sex.
Before a dog is invited to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, it has gone through various elimination states. The show is for the best breed winners only. The breeds are grouped differently.
- Sporting group; These are dogs that were bred to hunt wild birds.
- Non-sporting group; Dogs bred for other purposes like companionship
- Hound group; Bred for game hunting
- Working group; Bred to provide services
- Herding group; Bred for herding
- Toy group; Bred for household camaraderie
- Terrier group; Bred to kill vermin
In summary, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show dates years ago and carries history. Although many things have changed over the year, the show remains one of the most popular shows not just in the US but around the world.