Best in Show – what you need to know about the 2018 Westminster Dog Show

 

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Catch up on the 2018 Westminster winners before Best in Show tonight.

By Cara Armour, Founder of Active Paws Inc and marketing manager of ProPetHero

I can almost smell the hair products from my comfy sofa, and my eyes are squinting from the bright lights shining off the sequined clothing of the dog handlers – it’s time for Westminster!

The 142nd Westminster dog show is upon us and a quiet quarrel among the mixed dog-owning company I keep is brewing.

I live on both sides of the dog world, with one foot in rescue, and the other directly in dog shows. I volunteer as a foster home and dog evaluator for the Boxer Rescue and I own, breed, show, and enjoy AKC dog sports with my three Boxers (Debbie, Walter, and Phoenix).

There are a few more people like me who successfully hang out in both worlds, and I wish we had a bigger voice. I wish we could help to educate the world that there is enough room for rescued pups as well as purebred dogs. There doesn’t need to be a divide. In fact, both groups have the same mission: to eradicate the puppy mills.

But both sides of the coin also share the fundamental issue of irresponsible placement of dogs, and whether you rescue a dog or purchase a purebred puppy from a breeder, the obligation falls on both the provider and the acquirer to do right by the dog. It’s the responsibility of the breeder to make sure the puppy goes to the best possible home (and to take the puppy back if it doesn’t work out, whatever the reason), and it’s the responsibility of the adopter/owner to take care and control of the sentient being they have chosen to bring into their home.

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Me, with Phoenix.

Both rescues and purebred dog fanciers have events that, in essence, showcase the dogs they want so badly to place in the right homes. Rescue organizations have regular adoption events; Westminster is that event for the purebred dog fancy. It’s the time to appreciate the breeds preserved through selective breeding, careful selection, and extraordinary amounts of time, energy, and money. The dogs on parade at Westminster are the ideal representatives of their breeds and are the there to represent the top breeding stock. So in theory, the best puppies come from the best winning dogs. To get one of those puppies, you’d better be a great home, because responsible breeders don’t let their animals go to just anyone who wants a [fill in the breed].

While I do show my dogs, I don’t have a dog that is considered ‘a special’ (in show world lingo), but all of my dogs are extremely special to me. I do hope to one day to have a dog that is ‘a special’ so that I can showcase it at Westminster (wearing something spangly). For now, I spend my time trying to achieve that goal and, most importantly, searching for the right home for the dogs that I helped to lovingly bring into this world.

What Is the deal with Westminster?

Just about every dog owning (and even non dog owning) person in the US and many other countries knows about Westminster, but why is it so prestigious – and, really, what does it matter?

A little history

According to a newspaper article titled, “The Dog Show, 125 Years of Westminster” written in 2001 by Maxwell Riddle, “Westminster gets its name from a long gone hotel in Manhattan. There, sporting gentlemen used to meet in the bar to drink and lie about their shooting accomplishments. Eventually they formed a club and bought a training area and kennel. They kept their dogs there and hired a trainer.

“They couldn’t agree on the name for their new club. But finally someone suggested that they name it after their favorite bar. The idea was unanimously selected, we imagine, with the hoisting of a dozen drinking arms.”

Westminster is the second oldest sporting event in the country, after the Kentucky Derby.

Westminster kept growing

Much like the city of New York, the Westminster dog show began to grow in popularity, eventually becoming the multi-evening televised event it is today. (Think about it – how many non-human competitions get this much air time on a sports channel?) 

Unlike any other dog show, not just any pup can be entered. Dogs must be invited specifically to enter Westminster because they are the top five ranked among their breed, or they must have won at least one major show (meaning they garnered three, four, or five points from a win at a previous show such as a local AKC-sanctioned kennel club show or even the AKC National Championship Dog Show held every December in Orlando, Florida).

In essence, Westminster is a fancy parade celebrating the historical preservation of the breeds we have come to love. I’m not sure if we’ll see the two new breeds added to the AKC this year  – Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen and the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje – but we’re bound to see some beautiful dogs.

If you enjoy purebred dogs in all their glory, tune into Fox Sports 1 between 8-11pm on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 to enjoy the final group choices and Best in Show winner. The group winners picked thus far are:

Hound

  1. Borzoi – GCHG CH Belisarius JP My Sassy Girl (Call name: Lucy)
  2. Bloodhound – GCH CH Quiet Creek’s Limited Edition
  3. Beagle – GCH CH Windstar’s Magnum Opus
  4. Whippet – GCH CH Pinnacle Tennessee Whiskey

Toy

  1. Pug – GCHS CH Hill Country’s Puttin’ On The Ritz (Call name: Biggie)
  2. Pekingese – CH Pequest Feel The Burn
  3. Affenpinschers – GCHS CH Tamarin Tailback
  4. English Toy Spaniels (King Charles & Ruby) – GCH CH Clussexx Paddington Of Flivverway

Non-Sporting

  1. Bichon Frises – GCHP CH Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love (Call name: Flynn)
  2. Poodles (Standard) – GCH Hightide Stormsurge
  3. Boston Terriers – GCH CH Sabe’s Simply Invincible
  4. Keeshonden – CH Skyline Summerwind Order In The Court  

Herding

  1.  Border Collie – GCHP CH Majestic Elite Clever Endeavor (Call name: Flick)
  2. Cardigan Welsh Corgis – GCHP2 CH Aubrey’s Tails Of Mystery
  3. Old English Sheepdog – GCHB CH Bugaboo’s Let It Go Blu Mtn
  4. Pyrenean Shepherd – GCHG CH Eclipse De La Petite Ferme De Wihr

Catch up on the winners here. 

Those official breed names are so fancy, and so much fun to say out loud. They represent the pedigree of the dog, derived from this formula: [grand champion or champion title] [breeder’s kennel name] [registered name]. So this year’s Toy Group winner’s name, GCHS CH Hill Country’s Puttin’ On The Ritz, is translated as:

  • GCHS: Grand Champion Silver – a grand champion who has won 200 grand championship points
  • CH: Champion – has acquired 15 points, including 2 majors, won under different judges and at least one point under a third, different judge
  • Breeder kennel name: Hill Country
  • Registered name: Puttin’ On The Ritz
  • His call name is “Biggie”.

If you want to learn more about the prefixes, suffixes, titles, and abbreviations for purebred dogs, you can check out the AKC website here. It’s a great crib sheet for watching the show tonight.

Agility is for All-American dogs

If purebred dogs just aren’t your thing, you can enjoy the Westminster Agility Championship that took place on the piers on Saturday February 10, 2018. It aired on the regular Fox network, but can be caught on replay and is bound to hit YouTube shortly. AKC agility not only permits the All American (aka, mixed breed) to participate, they even provide the dog a special award for competing, and winning, against the purebred counterparts.

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Westminster Master Agility Champion Winners, courtesy of Bill Chiarchiaro. Overall winner Jessica Ajoux and 20″ Fame (front rear, holding the biggest ribbon). From left, Howard Carr with Pink won 8″, Laura Dolan with Pre won 12″, Jennifer Crank and her [also named] P!nk won 16″, and Amber Mccune with Kaboom won 24″. Liz Buckner won the overall All-American with Jefe.
Whether you’re #TeamFancy or #TeamAllAmerican, grab your remote and your unbathed pup to watch the fur fly and the couture sparkle. Tonight is going to be BIG. While I’m always going to root for my own beloved Boxer breed, my heart would be happy to see Biggie the Pug take home Best in Show.

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Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 12.40.42 PMVisit our Facebook page for a chance to win Put your guess for Best in Show in the comments, and the first one to get it right wins a free Breeds course! (A $30 value.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Reveal

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By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

I know you’ve all been chewing your fingernails to the quick, waiting for the answer to the eternal question “So what the heck is Hobo, anyway?” The Wisdom Panel DNA results say:

  Yorkshire Terrier and Pomeranian!

The back story:

Breed name: Yorkshire Terrier  |  AKC Classification: Toy Group

According to the Wisdom Panel summary, “The Yorkshire Terrier was used as a form of vermin control, since the areas where they lived were commonly infested. In 1865, the breed was given the official name of the Yorkshire Terrier and was introduced to the United States in 1872. Just six years later, in 1878, the Yorkshire Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, the breed that was recognized in 1878 is completely unlike the Yorkshire terrier of today. Selective breeding has reduced the average weight of the breed from thirty pounds to less than ten pounds. Today’s Yorkshire Terriers are now miniature versions of their ancestors.”

Breed name: Pomeranian  |  AKC Classification: Toy Group

The Wisdom Panel says, “The roots of today’s Pomeranian breed can be traced back to Prussia, in the region of Pomerania – which stretches across modern Germany and Poland along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. Around 1850, the breed was brought to England where it was given the name Pomeranian, in honor of its homeland, and recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1870. At that time, Pomeranians were much larger than the breed standard we know today. Today’s more diminutive Pomeranian was established when breeders set out to create a breed adequate for city living. Through selective breeding, English breeders were finally able to produce a dog that weighed less than twenty pounds and today’s breed standard of around five pounds demonstrates just how much the breed has evolved. In 1888, Queen Victoria was gifted with a Pomeranian, and the breed’s association with this influential monarch did much for its popularity all over the world. By 1900, the Pomeranian had been recognized by the American Kennel Club and today, the Pomeranian’s manageable size and feisty character have made it one of the most popular breeds.”

You may have guessed the Yorkie part, just by a quick visual assessment, but the Pomeranian part was a bit of a surprise to all of us. According to the test, Hobo is 25% Yorkie and 25% Pomeranian; the other 50% is “undetermined”.  We know that there are issues with the accuracy of canine DNA testing, but for now, we’re having a lot of fun projecting our ideas of how Yorkies and Pomeranians are supposed to act onto Hobo’s own delightfully unique behavior.

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See also: What Kind of Dog Is That?

Want to learn more about dog breeds? Check out FetchFind Monthly Pro – The Top Ten Dog Breeds!

What Kind of Dog Is That?

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By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

Every year I lead a group of FetchFind Academy students, alumni, and friends on a tour of the International Kennel Club Dog Show in Chicago. It’s one of my favorite things to do, because I love my extended family of dog nerds, and I especially love the opportunity to sniff around (ha) behind the scenes. And, well – I get to buy more Collie socks.

One of the great things about walking around this giant space with all of these pure-bred dogs is that you can get a real feel for what I always think of as their “breediness” – not just the way the dogs look, but the way they behave, and the way their breed-driven personalities manifest both inside and outside of the ring. Sturdy basset hounds trot along with noses to the ground, little show-off Pomeranians pirouette for attention, and good-natured Golden Retrievers are always happy to see you (though their groomers would much prefer that you not mess up their hair). We always get some fun pictures while we’re at the show; check them out on our Facebook page. 

A couple of years ago the IKC tour coincided with the Wisdom Panel results of our tiniest office mate, Hobo. We all played the guessing game with him after he was adopted, and pre-results we were all over the small dog universe with guesses like Cairn? Yorkie? Scotty? With maybe a little Chihuahua or Chinese Crested thrown into the mix? We finally settled on “some sort of small terrier type something or other.”

So what is Hobo, anyway? Stay tuned…

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Want to learn more about dog breeds? Check out the latest offering on FetchFind Monthly Pro – The Top Ten Dog Breeds!