For two days a year, the spectacle known as the Westminster Dog Show invades the popular consciousness with what is effectively Sundance for dog people. And I’m not talking the dress your your maltipoo in a striped wool sweater so he can saunter down the slushy streets of Manhattan. I’m talking the Best in Show type dog people. A spectacle all on their own.
Thankfully for those of us with heavy addiction to online video, there Westminster Kennel Club embraced the internet full stride this year with a healthy serving of almost every minute of footage shot over the two days. Who needs the USA Network’s three-hour coverage when you can cut right to the good stuff. The WKC All Access show is pretty astounding, even for cat people.
Have you seen the bearded collie?
This is also the first year that dogs are competing with their grand champion titles (“GCH”), a new level higher than Champion that was added last year. So that’s my little tip for those trying to decipher those show breeding names are GCH Saks Hamelot Little Drummer Boy, GCH My Thai Ta Sen Halleluia Chorus, GCH Karolina Bonnyvale Meant To Be.
Researching the world of show dogs can devour a few hours of your day, but there are some quick hits that are worth a look. Like horse racing, it’s pretty rare for a dog to win Best in Show at multiple world class events. So that makes the Papillon, Ch. Loteki Supernatural Being (“Kirby”) the sport’s closest comp to Secretariat, as the only dog to capture Best In Show at the World Dog Show (1998 in Helsinki) and Best In Show at Westminster (1999). Also, there have been a total of 299,024 dogs entered in Westminster’s 134 shows through 2010. Membership in the WKC is however, “by invitation only.”