"I like a bit of a mongrel myself, whether it's a man or a dog; they're the best for everyday."
-George Bernard Shaw
The 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was held in New York City this week. February 10th to 12th of 2013 found the 2,721 canines being judged at Madison Square Garden and Piers 92/94.
This year there were 187 breeds competing, including two new purebreds; the Russell Terrier and the Treeing Walker Coonhound. The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes only the 'best of the best' at this particular show, quality all. A top dog is chosen in each breed type...those are then divided into 7 'Groups.' The Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-sporting and Herding classes bring man's best friend to this prestigious venue. The winning dog in each group goes forward to the finale, "Best in Show." From the tinniest Chihuahua to the towering Irish Wolfhound, blow dryers and brushes and shinny grooming tools help these elite pooches achieve this sought after claim to fame.
The Westminster Kennel Dog Show was first held at the Gilmore's Garden on May 8, 1877. Hunters brought together a variety of gun dogs to be viewed. This initial show drew 1,200 contestants. Currently, the Westminster Kennel Club allows only pedigreed purebreds. Each breed is shown for the ideal specimen of that 'Standard.' This standard is a written description of all the physical and temperamental characteristics that selective breeding may produce.
Terriers have won Best in Show most often, 2 fold over the other groups. The 3 show-stoppers who were most likely to take home the coveted silver bowl in 2013 were a Doberman, a Wire Fox terrier and an American Foxhound. Alas,at evenings end, the Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show was an Affenpinscher named Banana Joe. Now there's a monicker for a little guy, huh?
"He had a splendid conformation- broad shoulders, white hair, erect carriage- and was beautifully turned out in an ensemble of rich brown. One was inclined to hope he would in the end, award first prize to himself."
- Red Smith, about a judge at a dog show-