Countdown to the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog ShowPublished January 6, 2012
At this time of the year, Westminster is in the air. On February 13th and 14th, the Westminster Kennel Club will celebrate its 136th annual dog show. As the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the country (the Kentucky Derby is the first), we always look forward to what’s new.
“We do the same thing every year," said David Frei, the voice of Westminster for 23 consecutive years. "We crown the greatest show dogs in the world. But what makes the show different and interesting each year is, most definitely, the dogs. The dogs are the stars. And each year, there are new dogs. And that’s what we look forward to!”
Westminster Kennel Club Show: Madison Square Garden Renovations Impact the Show
Unfortunately, there will be a decrease in the number of dogs at the show this year due to Madison Square Garden’s $850 million refurbishment. The entry limit had changed on occasion since the show's inception in 1877, but has been 2,500 since 1982.
“One of the most notable changes this year is a reduction in the show limit to 2,000 entries," says Frei. "This is a direct result of the loss of benching space in the Expo Center during the renovation project."
Also, as a result of the Garden’s facelift, ticket holders to the illustrious dog show will need to wear comfortable shoes when walking throughout the Madison Square Garden complex because the benching and breed judging for the Toy breeds on Monday and the Terrier breeds on Tuesday will take place in the theater at MSG. Preliminary judging in Junior Showmanship will take place in the theater, too.
Westminster Kennel Club Show: New Breeds
In this year's dog show, there will be a few new faces as a result of the American Kennel Club recognizing six new breeds.
“And, of the 185 breeds and varieties shown, we can’t forget the six, newly recognized American Kennel Club breeds that will be competing this year,” states Frei.
Westminster Kennel Club Show: A New Sponsor
A new year also brings a new sponsor. After a 24-year relationship with Pedigree, owned by candy maker Mars Inc., the dog show has a new sponsor. Nestlé Purina is the "official pet food sponsor" of the Annual Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show.
Westminster Kennel Club Show: New Memorabilia
As with every year, art enthusiasts and Westminster memorabilia collectors look forward to the annual “Westminster. There‘s only one” poster. For the second consecutive year, the contest was sponsored by the New York Academy of Art, which also selected five additional finalists.
"Hickory," a pen, ink and watercolor image produced on paper by Ms. Chris Duke, a notable illustrator, has been selected as the winning artwork to represent the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The price of the poster is $35.00 plus additional shipping & handling charges.
Westminster Kennel Club Show: A Revamped Dog Show Experience for Fans
Lastly, for dog show fans, the Garden transformation includes new seats, restrooms, and the creation of the MSG Signature Collection of food items. The new food offerings were created by high-end restaurateurs such as Andrew Carmellini, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Drew Nieporent and Jeremy Marshall of Aquagrill.
“Better food in the Garden is a good thing because you can build up an mighty appetite watching all those dogs compete in the show ring,” says Frei.
Are you looking forward the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club show? Share your thoughts in a comment!