After being moved to the suburbs as a precautionary measure against the Coronavirus, the prestigious dog show held annually by the Westminster Kennel Club will be making its way back to Madison Square in 2022.
Speaking to the press on Friday, April 2nd, 2021, officials from the Westminster Kennel Club announced that next year’s final rounds would be held at the show’s regular venue. Unlike the regular editions of the show usually held in June, the 2022 show will be held in January. However, preliminary rounds will be held at a venue that has yet to be disclosed.
Returning To Its Former Location
Meanwhile, the Westminster Kennel Club is already making preparations for this year’s dog show, which will go down on the 12th and 13th of June, 2021. This year’s show will be held at a riverfront estate in Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York.
This is the first time in the 144-year history of the prestigious show that it will be held outside Manhattan. It is also the first time in more than 100 years that the “Best in Show” prize will be awarded at a new location away from the Madison Square Gardens.
Apart from being held away from the Madison Square Garden, there’s another unique thing about this year’s Westminster Dog Show. The show will be held without any spectators, in a bid to conform to COVID-19 regulations.
This is also the first time that the event – which usually attracts over 35,000 spectators – will be held without spectators. In a series of tweets sent out on Monday, March 29th, 2021, the Westminster Kennel Club confirmed that they won’t be allowing any outside spectators at this year’s show.
The History Of Westminster Dog Show
Despite being disallowed to spectate the show, fans can still catch the proceedings of the show through various media channels. Preliminary rounds, including the obedience competition and the agility competition will be made available for live-streaming on the Westminster Kennel Club website, while the final rounds will be broadcast on Fox channels.
The first edition of the Westminster Dog Show was held on May 8th, 1877, and since then, the competition has been held on every year, including during both World Wars, during the Great Depression, and during the pandemic years of 1918 to 1920.
The Westminster Dog Show started as a show for gun dogs, particularly bird dogs and setters, started by a group of hunters who used to meet regularly at the Westminster Hotel. They formed a kennel club, which they named the Westminster Kennel Club, for the sole purpose of organizing a dog show to celebrate their working dogs.
Today, the show has come so far, and while people no longer raise dogs purely for activities like hunting, dogs at the show are judged based on their physical attributes and their ability to perform the jobs for which the breeds were initially bred. The dogs are judged across 7 groups – working, hound, herding, sporting, non-sporting, terrier, and toy.