They've added something new to Westminster this year. There's a master's agility championship running all day today at the piers. I love watching dogs attack the various obstacles and can t think of a better way to spend the day, but, since I made my reservations before I found out about the agility competition, I'll miss it this year. At least some of it will be televised. The final rounds will be on television tonight, live, so, tune in to Fox Sports 1 from 7-9 p.m.
At least I'll be in New York City for the conformation show. I've checked the judging schedule and there are no conflicts between the dogs I want to see. Monday, I definitely want to watch the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos, the Pembroke Welsh Corgis and the Pyrenean Shepherds. Tuesday, I'll see the Rat Terriers and the Chinooks. I'll see lots more, of course, but those five breeds are on my "must see" list.
Last year, it was very hard to see any of the judging unless you were lucky enough to get one of the limited ringside chairs. This year, they've improved the seating. According to the Westminster Kennel Club website, not only have they added seats around each ring, but they've added bleacher seating, and, there will be wide-screen televisions at every ring as well.
The website has all kinds of useful information, including a list of restaurants, pet friendly hotels, and dog parks. There's also a section on the history of the Westminster Kennel Club. As a Jamestown resident, I had to smile at one bit of information. It said, "The first telecast of Westminster was in 1948, three years before 'I Love Lucy' premiered." One section of the Westminster web site lists how many entries are from each state. There will be dogs from 49 states. The only state with no dogs entered is Arkansas. It's no surprise that New York leads the way with 272, and 17 of those are from our area, with zip codes beginning with either 147 or 140. California is a close second with 239. Pennsylvania doesn't surprise me with 211, but the Delaware contingent seems low to me with only 16 entries. Rhode Island beats that with 19. Alaska and Hawaii are both represented, Alaska with 5 and Hawaii with 9.
Outside of the United States, there are 115 entries from Canada, five from Mexico, two from Japan, and one each from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Finland, Italy, Norway, Slovenia, Thailand and the United Kingdom. I was surprised there weren't more entries from the United Kingdom, and surprised at even one dog from Thailand. I wish they'd listed the breeds for some of these smaller entries.
The site does list some of the larger entries by breed. Labrador Retrievers, which are the most popular breed according to AKC registration figures, have 76 entries in the show. Next is Golden Retrievers with 58, French Bulldogs with 52, Rhodesian Ridgebacks with 46 and Australian Shepherds with 44. There are 62 Dachshunds in all varieties, and 42 total Poodles.
Labs, Goldens, Dachshunds and Poodles are all in the top-10 list of popular AKC breeds, so those numbers aren't much of a surprise, but I was interested to see the number of entries for the other breeds in the top-10. German Shepherd Dogs, which are third in popularity, are only represented by 16 entries. Beagles, which rank above Dachshunds in popularity have an entry of 14 13-inch Beagles and 28 15-inch Beagles. Yorkshire Terriers, number six in popularity, have 32 entries. Seventh place Boxers will have 20 representatives; Chihuahuas, 38 long coat and 27 smooth coat; and Shih Tzus, 18 entries.
If you want to see how many entries of your favorite breed made it to Westminster, check out their Web site, www.westminsterkennelclub.org. The wonderful thing about Westminster is that there are usually representatives of every breed so that you can watch your favorite during the group judging and, if you're lucky, you might get to watch that favorite compete for Best in Show.
Unless the weather is so bad that my flight gets cancelled, I'll enjoy a taste of New York City, as well as seeing many breeds of my favorite breeds up close. I just hope Mother Nature turns up the heat just a bit. After all, I won't have Rhiannon with me to sleep on the bed and help keep me warm.