On the eve of its annual show, The Westminster Kennel Club announced today a number of changes for its 2013 show, including an additional venue for breed judging, a larger entry limit, and the expansion of dogs eligible for competition.
Breed judging and benching will take place at Piers 92/94 in New York City, located at West 55th Street and the West Side Highway, both days of the show, Monday and Tuesday. Group and Best In Show judging, as well as the Junior Showmanship Finals, will still be held at Madison Square Garden in the evening.
The entry limit will be increased to 3,200 dogs (up from 2,000 in 2012) and will include competition in the classes for dogs that have not yet earned their championships, but have won major points. In addition, Best of Breed winners of National Breed Club specialties will be invited to pre-enter. The top five dogs in each breed in breed point standings will continue to be invited to pre-enter, as in the past.
The 2013 Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show will be held on February 11-12.
The Westminster Kennel Club has been held at Madison Square Garden in all but a few years of its existence. The first Westminster shows were held at Gilmore’s Gardens in 1877-78-79, which was the forerunner of Madison Square Garden. Westminster has since become one of only three entities to hold its event in all four iterations of Madison Square Garden in New York (along with the circus and the National Horse Show, neither of which is currently being held at the Garden today).
“”We take great pride in our relationship with the world’s greatest sporting arena,”” said Westminster President Peter R. Van Brunt in announcing the changes. “”We are happy that these changes will help us continue to produce the greatest dog show in the world for the dogs, the people in our sport, the spectators who come to the show, and the millions more who watch us on television.””
In the past two years, a renovation project at the Garden has reduced the available space for benching at Westminster. Moving to the Piers for daytime judging will expand the space available once again for benching, allow more entries, and continue to provide the spectators with the opportunity to see the dogs up close and visit with the owners and handlers.