Posted on Monday, February 18th, 2013

The Westminster Dog Show Recap


Did you catch the 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week? The two night event took place in New York on February 11th and 12th 2013. This giant event is kicked off by the New York Pet Fashion Show which we recapped last year. We were lucky enough to attend the show this year and had a great time! If you are unfamiliar with the sport we will bring you up to speed.

187 breeds and varieties of dogs competed to become the next Best in Show. This particular dog show, first held in 1877, is one of America’s second-longest continuously held sporting events right behind the Kentucky Derby! It pre-dates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile, and basketball! The basic purpose of the show is to facilitate the evaluation of breeding stock for use in producing future generations.

So how are the dogs judged? Each breed belongs to one of 7 designated groups that were originally bred for a similar purpose share and common characteristics. These groups include sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting, and herding. Ever wonder what kind of dogs these groups consist of? The Westminster Kennel Club describes each as follows:

Sporting: These are gun dogs that were developed to assist the hunter, and generally have high energy and stable temperaments. Pointers and Setters point and mark the game, Spaniels flush the bird, and Retrievers recover the game from land or water.

Hound: Hounds were originally classified as Sporting dogs, but were assigned their own group in 1930. These dogs are hunters that bring down the game themselves, or hold it at bay until the hunter arrives, or locate the game by tracking it by scent. Sighthounds hunt by sight, Scenthounds by tracking with their superior olfactory senses.

Working: These dogs are generally intelligent and powerfully built, performing a variety of tasks, including guarding homes and livestock, serving as draft animals, and as police, military and service dogs.

Terrier: “Terrier” comes from the Latin word, terra (ground) as these determined and courageous dogs must be small enough and agile enough to “go to ground” to pursue their quarry (rats, foxes, and other vermin). All but the Australian Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer were developed in the United Kingdom.

Toy: Toy dogs were bred to be companions for people. They are full of life and spirit and often resemble their larger cousins (e.g., Pomeranian as a Nordic breed, the Papillon a little Spaniel, and the Toy Poodle the smallest variety of the Poodle).

Non-Sporting: The AKC originally registered dogs as either Sporting or Non-Sporting. Hounds and Terriers split off the Sporting Group, Toys and Working from the Non-Sporting, and later, Herding from the Working Group. The remaining dogs, with a great diversity of traits not fitting any of the above, comprise the Non-Sporting Group.

Herding: This group split off from the Working Group in 1983. Herding is a natural instinct in dogs, and their purpose is to serve ranchers and farmers by moving livestock from one place to another.

The winners of each group then go on to be judged in hopes of earning “Best in Show” honors. The breeds to move on were the American Foxhound, Affenpinscher, Bichons Frises, Old English Sheepdog, German Wirehaired Pointer, Portuguese Water Dog, and the smooth Fox Terrier. Each was pooch was awarded a silver plated trophy.

We congratulate this year’s winner, Banana Joe, a 5-year-old Affenpinscher. He was awarded the coveted prize of Best in Show. This is not the first big win for little Joey. His handler stated in a postshow conference that Banana Joe had won many big dog shows in his career, but none like Westminster. The AP also reports that Banana Joe’s full name is longer and more exotic than the Westminster crowds could have guessed. Officially dubbed Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, it’s no wonder he tends to stick to the easy-to-pronounce shortened stage name. Apparently, the prize-winning Affenpinscher is particularly cosmopolitan, with full four languages under his dog collar.

“He speaks German, Dutch, Spanish and English,” co-owner and breeder Mieke Cooijmans told the source.

No wonder Banana Joe took home top prize – not only is he adorable, but he’s more linguistically informed than most humans!

The runner up went to Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, an Old English Sheepdog. We snapped some photos of the winners as they were being judged and crowned. Have you ever been to a dog show before or would you like to attend one in the future? Tell us in the comments below!

This content is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.