Weather permitting, I am in New York City, enjoying agility and Meet the Breeds. Meet the Breeds includes cats as well as dogs, so it’s doubly enjoyable, and the agility is always amazing to watch.
Then, Monday and Tuesday, it’s the 142 annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Honestly, it never gets old, seeing so many top dogs. I’d hate to be a judge, because they are all magnificent. If you get the Fox channel, FS1, you’ll be able to watch the action from the comfort of your living room. If you like streaming, check out that schedule at westminsterkennelclub.org.
There are 527 sporting dogs entered, with Golden Retrievers having the most entries at 52. Labrador Retrievers are next with 46. Third is Vizslas, with 45. That really surprises me because I never think of Vizslas as being as popular as either Goldens or Labs.
There are 477 working breeds entered. Bernese Mountain Dogs and Doberman Pinschers both have entries of 35 dogs. Next is Rottweilers with 31 and Great Danes with 28.
Out of 333 terriers entered, Miniature Schnauzers have 26 entries, with Airedale Terriers at 23, and Smooth Fox Terriers at 18.
In Toys, 373 dogs are entered. Cavalier King Charles tops the list with 32, then Chinese Cresteds, 31, and Yorkshire Terriers, 25.
297 non-sporting breeds are entered this year, with 48 French Bulldogs. The next highest entry is Dalmatians with 26, and 25 Standard Poodles.
My favorite group, the herding group, has 384 entries, with 37 Australian Shepherds, with 24 Cardigan Welsh Corgis and 21 Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
All fifty states are represented, with seven dogs each from Hawaii and Alaska. California has the most dogs represented with 240. New York is second with 238. There’s one dog from North Dakota and two from South Dakota.
Sixteen other countries are represented as well. There are 102 dogs from Canada, seven from Mexico, seven from Japan, five from Japan, three from South Korea, two from Greece, and one each from Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. The Westminster Kennel Club press release doesn’t mention what kind of dogs are from each country. I’d love to know if they are regional breeds, for instance, a Swedish Vallhund from Sweden. I’ll have to check the catalog.
Although I love watching the dogs in the ring, from up close and personal there’s nothing like the Meet the Breeds gathering, and, during the actual show, the benching area. In both those locations, you can usually pet the dogs, and, you can chat with owners and handlers to get an idea of what the personality is like with different breeds. Many of the booths at Meet the Breeds have pamphlets about the breed, so you can read in more detail.
In years past, the Meet the Breeds has also been a great time to see any new breeds that have been recently recognized by the American Kennel Club, but this year, there are no additions. That’s a bit of a disappointment, but there are still breeds I’m not familiar with, and I’ll just revisit them, as well as some of my favorites. I really like the sleek Cirneco Dell’ Etna from Sicily, and I rarely see the Tibetan Mastiff. Then there’s the Red and White Irish Setter, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, the Ibizan, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, the Anatolian Shepherd, the Norwegian Lundehund … well, you get the idea.
This year, I may spend more time checking out the different cat breeds that will be on display. As a departure from my other books, I’m now working on a cat book. Meet the Breeds is going to be a great way to see a large assortment of cats in person and to talk to breeders about what these cats are like to live with. Most of the booths will have written material about their breeds and that will be useful, too.
Between dogs and cats at Pier 92 and the agility at Pier 94, I’ll be busy right up until the time of the Dog Writers Association of America awards banquet. The DWAA writing contest drew over 600 entries, and as contest chair, it’s my honor and pleasure to award the winners their Maxwell medallions, and, I am beyond thrilled that my book 101 Things to Know Before Getting a Dog won in the reference category.
My schedule’s going to be packed and I look forward to every minute.