Westminster Dog Show Returns On Its 146th Year

After a six-month delay, the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is back.

The annual event, which is celebrating its 146th year of dog competition, has finally kicked off on June 18, 2022, at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York. The event will culminate on June 22 with the Best In Show award.

The show was postponed in January 2022 due to the surge of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading in New York City.

Nearly 3,500 dogs are competing for the top prize representing 211 dog breeds and their varieties. Aside from the main conformation event, dogs also compete for agility and obedience awards.

Last yearโ€™s Best In Show went to Wasabi, the Pekingese.

Two New Breeds Competing

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One of the showโ€™s highlights is the debut of two breeds recently recognized by the club.

The first is the Mudi, which will compete in the Herding Group. Originating from Hungary, the Mudi is a working dog breed that is active and agile at hunting. This dog breed was nearly eradicated during the Second World War, and only a few hundred exist today in the United States.

Two Mudis that are making the introduction this year belongs to a mother and son duo from Hico, Texas. Penny Allen and her 11-year-old son, Bryson, will be competing for which Mudi is better. โ€œWhen we get in the ring, itโ€™s gloves off – let the best Mudi win,โ€ the mother challenged.

The second new breed is the Russian Toy or the Russkiy Toy from the Toy Group. It resembles the Chihuahua and is bred from the English Toy Terrier. This tiny dog only reaches a maximum weight of 6 pounds and a height of 8 to 11 inches.

There are only two Russian Toy dogs that are debuting this year. One is a red and sable Russian Toy named Shrinka, and another is Lexi, a black and tan tiny dog.

The โ€œHidden Gemโ€ Breeds

According to Gail Miller Bisher, director of communications for the club, the show also wishes to highlight โ€œhidden gemโ€ breeds that have been part of the show for years but are not as well-known as the Poodles, the Retrievers, or the Bulldogs.

Dog breeds, such as the American Fox Hound, Skye Terrier, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Sussex Spaniel, and the Norwegian Buhund, are just some of the less famous dog breeds competing.

โ€œIf people are looking for a dog to bring home, we want to make sure they know about these types of breeds as well because theyโ€™re awesome. They have long histories and make great pets, but people just donโ€™t always know about them,โ€ Bisher said.

Many of these lesser-known dog breeds have been competing in the show since 1877 and their numbers are reported to be vulnerably low, according to Bisher.

The purebred dogs are judged by how they match the standard or โ€œidealโ€ for the breed. The winner from each breed then goes to the semifinals, where they compete for their group, whether sporting, herding, hound, or terrier.

The Best In Show will be chosen from the winners of the seven groups.

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Pete Decker