I like to touch dogs, be around dogs, and learn all about the history of breeds and what makes a dog’s tail wag. These are a few of the reasons I trek to New York City every February, Cocker Spaniel in tow, for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
In my feature pieces for Pet360 and Dogster magazine, I shared behind-the-scenes info and images from the recent 137th WKC Dog Show. Excitedly, I ascertained media seating and had first hand and first paw access to the pooches, handlers, owners, and fellow dog-loving aficionados.
Here are 9 more things you might not know about Westminster Kennel Club show, including some exclusive media images I received while walking the Garden Green and Piers Purple. Read on:
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the few benched dog shows in this country. As WKC puts it, “Originally, most shows were “benched” in some fashion, where the entered dogs were required to be in assigned areas (on benches) at all times when not being judged in the ring. This allowed for interaction of dogs and their owners with spectators and other owners and breeders as an educational process.” Bottom line: I got to touch the dogs — fan girlie squeal here!
When you attend a press conference as part of the media, you can then stand up at the step and repeat panel and pose with fellow media friends. Thanks to my media pal, Dr. Patrick Mahaney, for encouraging me to strike a pose.
In order to accommodate increased entry and allow for more dogs to be entered, with the construction going on at Madison Square Garden, the WKC decided to expand their venues. Piers 92 and 94 were home to the daytime benching with the Garden continuing its legacy of group winners taking to the ring at night. The media room at the Piers allowed for a bird’s eye view of some of the daytime showings. Swoon.
Some of the best moments are those when the dogs are simply allowed to be dogs. I love strolling up to the handlers and groomers, politely asking about the breed and their background. You can lay your hands on the dogs in most cases, and this is one of the coolest things about attending the benching portion.
The guy who is the voice for Triumph the Insult Comic Dog sounds a lot like Triumph – surprise, surprise, right? Triumph was at the Piers to help pitch a new tooth product for dogs. I let him know the cigar might not be healthy for teeth but he had no comment.
You know those yellow boxed breed signs the dogs stand by when waiting their turn for judging? They are stacked inside one another and easily lifted off during commercial breaks. Oh, that and the fact that David Frei and Mary Carillo cannot be heard by Garden attendees were surprises. You, at home, are able to hear David and Mary give a play-by-play but Garden guests cannot.
The handlers do a variety of really fun and funny things to psyche their dogs up before hitting the Garden Green. I saw large rawhide-type treats and even slobbered on ratty toys used as “bait.” In the case of Cocker Spaniels, treats as bait were heavily involved. Bait entices the dog to put his or her game face on.
There are some great vendors and booths to visit as you peruse the Pier pooches. Everything from the William Secord Art Gallery showcasing stunning pieces to vendors selling dog-themed jewelry are present for attendees.
Did you watch Westminster Kennel Club show and/or have you ever attended in person? Bark at me below.
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