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The 135th Westminster Dog Show: Best In Show And In Hearts

By Danielle Sullivan |

westminster dog show, grammy awards, grammy, best in show, Labrador retrievers, valentine’s day

And they call it ‘puppy love’… at the Westminster Dog Show.

Valentine’s Day is quite possibly the best possible time for the The Westminster Kennel Club 135th Annual Dog Show to take place. While these adorable pooches are well-trained and impeccably groomed, what they do best is make their families happy. Despite the idea that these dogs are superior because they look so picture perfect prancing around Madison Square Garden, they are at their basic core, pets that are incredibly loved and want to please their owners. They also have owners that love them back who treat them not as just a possession, but part of the family.

I know that feeling well.

A few months ago, we brought home an adorable pup from North Shore Animal League in Long Island. It was anything but an easy decision because there were so many adorable pups; it was ridiculously difficult to choose. There were two rooms of puppies and we looked at every single one for about an hour. Then workers just wheeled in another set of cages with new arrivals and she was in that batch. She was a quiet, mushy, black Lab that stared at us with those “take me home” eyes.

Our pup is without a doubt part of our family, and Labrador retrievers are a popular choice in the Westminster Dog show. Here’s the breakdown as reported by NBC Sports:

A total of 2,597 dogs representing 179 breeds from 49 states, Washington D.C. and Canada will compete. For the first time since 1998, New York leads California with the most entries.

This year, the highest number for one breed is the Rhodesian Ridgeback with 56 contenders. However, Avello has this breed ranked at 175-1 to win. Other top entries include Golden Retrievers (46), French Bulldogs (44), Vizslas (40), Australian Shepherds (39), Labrador Retrievers (38), German Shorthaired Pointers (36), Pugs (33), and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (31).

This year, Westminster is also introducing six new breeds that have been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. The versatile Boykin Spaniel joins the Sporting Group; the athletic Bluetick Coonhound and the courageous Redbone Coonhound join the Hound Group; the robust Cane Corso, an Italian Breed and the elegant Leonberger join the Working Group; and the agile Icelandic Sheepdog joins the Herding Group.

So far, our puppy is now 4-months old and knows how to sit, give paw, speak, wave hello, and lay down, but we hope to teach her other tricks as time goes on. We will be tuning in for the show eagerly rooting for the labs. Two Smooth Fox Terriers named Dodger and Adam are presumed to be top leaders. Watching the show together as a family is a fun way to spend a cold weekend night and since everyone has favorite, or a favorite class, you can vote for your favorites as a family.

Here is the schedule:

Monday, February 14 is the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups at 8-9 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network and 9-11 p.m. (ET) live on CNBC.
Tuesday, February 15 showcases the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, Best In Show 8-11 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network.

Could your family pooch make it to Westminster? What tricks have you taught your dog? What would you like to teach them?

Image: Madison Square Garden

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About Danielle Sullivan


Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “The 135th Westminster Dog Show: Best In Show And In Hearts

  1. BlackOrchid says:

    While my current dog is handsome enough to show (I might be biased!), his breed is not AKC registered (just CKC and I think some are doing UKC showing). But a wonderful breed, and I am not a breeder or anything . . but if you like spitz-type dogs, good family dogs, easy-going and sweet ones tho, not high-energy – check out the Eurasier!

    I have shown him in rare-breed shows. He really doesn’t enjoy showing. Some dogs love it. If a dog doesn’t like showing, you can’t make them. But there are some – like his mom, actually – who really do live for it.

    My guy has had basic obedience and show training (not that it went anywhere!) – I’d love to do more intensive obedience for him and start taking him to nursing homes, etc. He is just a big huggable love! He’d be a great therapy dog. I just don’t have time at the moment.

  2. yudh says:

    Westminster Dog Show 2011 (PHOTOS)
    Today marks the first day of the 2011 Westminster Dog Show, which is going on at Madison Square Garden. Take a peek of some of this year’s contestants getting prepped and groomed backstage and vote for your favorite furry fella. …

  3. Danielle Sullivan says:

    @blackorchid Aren’t big huggable loves just the best? That actually describes my pup perfectly. I love the idea of therapy dogs. Dogs are amazing animals and they help in so many ways.

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