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.
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