Cat blog pal Layla won our giveaway TICKETS for 140th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Layla is so sweet to provide us a recap of the 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden last February 15-16, 2016.
2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the Oscars of the dog world and I spent Monday night at Madison Square Garden savoring the spectacle as an outsider. You can’t call me bi-petual, or loving cats and dogs equally. I’m 100% cat lover but one with a new appreciation for dogs. The 2016 WKC, presented by Purina® Pro Plan®, is the 140th year of the show, with more than 2800 dogs and 199 breeds competing for top honors and on the second evening, the coveted Best in Show. This year, the honor went to C.J. a German shorthaired pointer.
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show remains one of the few “benched” shows in this country. The dogs entered are required to remain in assigned areas when not in the ring. For the two-day event, spectators can watch the judging, meet the breeds and talk to their owners during the day. It’s a great way to learn about the many different breeds, their temperaments, feeding and grooming requirements.
All the dogs meet breed standards and are best of the best champions. These breeds are divided by the AKC into seven groups (Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding, Sporting, Working, Terrier).
This year seven additional breeds were welcomed to the WKC. The breed must be recognized by the American Kennel Club and there must be at least a few hundred individuals of the breed in the United States. This year’s newcomers include the miniature American sheepdog, the Boerboel, the Bergamasco sheepdog, the Lagotto Romagnolo, the Berger Picard, the Spanish water dog and the Cirneco dell’Etna.
The one that raised my eyebrows and brought smiles was Bergamasco sheepdog. It’s hard to believe the gray, running mop was originally bred in the Italian Alps as a herding dog and does surprisingly well on agility courses.
The Bergamasco’s unique mop-like coat is made up of three different types of hair that weave together into loose mats. Seeing the dreadlock-like hairs fly every which way when he jumped on his handler seeking treats made me laugh.
Meeting breed standards is no laughing matter and judges inspect and observe each dog with laser focus. When the judge is in the ring, it may seem impossible to choose one dog over another but I learned the judges look for how well the dog conforms to the breed standard. The standard is built from what the dog was originally bred for. i.e. the herding group are dogs bred for herding sheep or other farm animals.
The crowd favorite and mine on Monday evening was Annabelle, a bulldog who took top prize in her group (non-sporting). Let the Greyhounds and Borzois fly by in graceful blur with their handlers panting behind. The slow-moving bulldog took her own sweet time no matter how loud the audience roared. A good time was had by all, especially this dog show newbie. You can be sure I’ll be back next year, but don’t tell my cats.
Guest Post by: Layla Morgan Wilde is a holistic cat behaviorist, celebrity cat consultant and pet industry influencer. She founded the award-winning blog CatWisdom101.com in 2011 and founded the non-profit Annex Cat Rescue in 1997. She contributes to PetFinder, Catster, and Cat Channel and is a devoted cat mom to four special-needs cats in Westchester County, NY. Her latest venture is producing a cat arts and culture Caribbean cruise for cat lovers and influencers.