That’s been true since 1877, as the world’s most famous and prestigious canine event – The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show – has continually added to its inimitable legacy and its celebration of dogs with each ensuing year.
In 2015, it will happen once again with The 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. In fact, this year Westminster will be three, bringing more dogs, more events, and more competition as it adds two components preceding the show to its Westminster Week: its 2nd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and The Westminster Kennel Club presents AKC Meet the Breeds brought to you by Purina Pro Plan.
All Westminster Week events are supported and presented by Purina Pro Plan.
The iconic dog show, on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 16-17 in New York City, features an entry of 2,711 as it extends its standing as the second-longest continuously-held sporting event in this country, behind only the Kentucky Derby.
There are entries in all 192 breeds and varieties eligible for this year’s show. Golden Retrievers have the largest entry with 58, followed closely by Labrador Retrievers with 56, Australian Shepherds 43, French Bulldogs 41, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 38, Rhodesian Ridgebacks 38, and Rottweilers 33. Norwich Terriers have the largest entry in the Terrier Group with 19. There is only one White Bull Terrier and one Norwegian Lundehund entered.
The entry includes two breeds newly recognized by the American Kennel Club that are eligible for Westminster for the first time: Coton de Tulears in the Non-Sporting Group (14) and Wirehaired Vizslas in the Sporting Group (4). There are 117 foreign entries and 88 entries in Junior Showmanship.
Entries have come from 48 states and Washington, D.C., and 14 foreign countries. For the fifth year in a row, New York has the most with 242. Other top states include California with 204, Pennsylvania 185, New Jersey 182, Florida 145, Texas 143, Virginia 132, Ohio 117 and Massachusetts 106. There are no entries from North Dakota or Idaho. There are 117 foreign entries, led by Canada with 88.
Best In Show will be judged by The Hon. David Merriam of Bonsall, CA.
Judge Merriam will head a panel of 33 judges from 14 states, Canada and Finland who will officiate at the dog show world’s most famous and prestigious event, held at Madison Square Garden and Piers 92/94 in New York. The panel includes four judges who have previously judged Best In Show at Westminster, 13 who have judged Groups, and 11 who are judging for their first time at Westminster.
Group judges are Mr. Ken Murray of Island Lake, IL, Sporting; Mrs. Betty-Anne Stenmark of Woodside, CA, Hound; Mrs. Theresa Hundt of Sandy Hook, CT, Working; Dr. John Reeve-Newson of Toronto, Canada, Terrier; Mr. Elliott Weiss of Middletown, DE, Toy; Ms. Shirley Limoges of Ottawa, Canada, Non-Sporting; and Dr. Klaus Anselm of Keswick, VA, Herding. Mr. Michael Dougherty of Escondido, CA, will judge the Junior Showmanship finals. See the Westminster website for the complete judging panel by breed.
Judging for the all breed show takes place in two different venues. Breed judging, benching and Junior Showmanship preliminary competition will take place during the days Monday and Tuesday at Piers 92/94. Group and Best In Show judging, as well as the Junior Showmanship Finals, will be held at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday evenings, as has been the case virtually every year since the show began.
On Monday and Tuesday, America’s Dog Show will also feature live television coverage on CNBC and USA Network, as well as live streaming video to the website and on the Westminster App. The evening competition will be televised live each night from 8-11 p.m. ET and 5-8 p.m. PT. Monday’s telecast of the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups will be on CNBC. Tuesday’s telecast will be on USA Network and will include the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, as well as Best In Show.
The other two events will take place on Saturday, Feb. 14, preceding the dog show.
The world’s greatest canine athletes will compete in the world’s most exciting canine sport in the 2nd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster at Pier 94. The 2015 trial features an increase in the entry limit to 330 (quickly reached) and is limited to dogs that have attained Master titles, raising the quality and the intensity of the competition.
The competition will feature dogs of 72 breeds (led by 49 Border Collies and 45 Shetland Sheepdogs) and also 13 mixed breeds (All American dogs). The All American category is once again significant, bringing non-purebred dogs to a Westminster event last year and this year for the first time since the very earliest days of the show. Judges for the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster are Mr. Alan Arthur of Leander, TX and Mr. Graham Partridge of Austell, Cornwall, UK.
Saturday night’s finals will be taped for national broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Feb. 15 from noon-2 p.m. ET.
The newest component of Westminster Week is The Westminster Kennel Club presents AKC Meet the Breeds brought to you by Purina Pro Plan. Dog lovers will have the opportunity to interact with hundreds of canines and their people at Pier 92, while the Agility Trial is going on next door.
With more than 100 dog breeds expected to be participating, attendees can learn about each dog from the experts themselves – breeders, enthusiasts, trainers and groomers. The public will get the chance to learn about responsible pet ownership and what breeds might be right for their lifestyle and their family.
The combined entry of the three events means that more than 3,000 dogs will be on hand from all over the country for Westminster Week in 2015.
Westminster News and Notes
JUDGING PANEL AND JUDGING SCHEDULE
The complete Judging Panel and the Judging Schedule are available on the Westminster website.
2015 WESTMINSTER APP
Westminster will launch version 3.0 of its Smartphone App in February 2015 with updated content, including information on every breed, every judge and a breakdown of how a dog show works. It will again feature a digital judging program and live streaming of breed judging from all rings. The app will be a guide not only for the 139th edition of America’s Dog Show but will also introduce users to the 2nd Masters Agility Championship at Westminster on Saturday. The app will be available on the App Store and Google Play and is compatible with iPhone and most Android devices.
BREED JUDGING ON STREAMING VIDEO
Live streaming video of the entire breed judging in every breed during the day once again will be available on both the Westminster app and the website. It will also be available for viewing on both sites very quickly following the completion of breed judging.
For complete ticket information for all events, please log on to www.westminsterkennelclub.org
HOTELS AND TRANSPORTATION
Three Madison Square Garden-area hotels have been designated by Westminster as 2015 Gold Star Hotel Partners: The Wyndham New Yorker, the Hotel Pennsylvania, and the Affinia Manhattan. Please see the WKC website for a listing of all hotels offering special rates.
OFFICIAL MERCHANDISE AND POSTER
Official Westminster merchandise and the official 2015 poster, “I’ll Paint the Sky,” are available on the website as well.
WESTMINSTER’S COLORS HIGH IN NYC SKY
Since 2004, visitors to New York during Westminster and millions of viewers in a huge national television audience have been treated to spectacular historic sight during the show – the Empire State Building lit up in Westminster colors of purple and gold. The “World’s Most Famous Building” will be aglow in purple and gold on Sunday night, February 15, in the midst of Westminster Week. See www.esbnyc.com.