Recession Doesn’t Slow Westminster Entries

Famous dog show full with 2,500 entries, including three new breeds

 

By Sandy Robins

updated 3:20 p.m. PT, Thurs., Feb. 4, 2010

 

New York City is once again getting dressed in purple and gold, the traditional colors of the Westminster Kennel Club to host the 134th Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 15–16.

Although dog show entries been down throughout the country in recent months as a result of the economic recession, the Westminster Kennel Club has had no problems reaching its quota of 2,500 entries for what is regarded as the most-watched dog show in the world.

“Showing dogs is a hobby,” said David Frei, communications director for the WKC. “So hobbies are probably quite high on people’s cut-back lists. However, we had no problem hitting out limit.”

For the 11th straight year, California has had the most entries with 251 dogs, with New York a close second with 224 entries. Other states in the top 10 include Pennsylvania (209), New Jersey (158), Texas (126), Florida (124) Connecticut (121), Massachusetts (110), Ohio (110) and Maryland (98).

Dogs from Canada, Brazil, Japan, Europe and Thailand also will be flying to the Big Apple to strut their stuff on the famous green carpet.

Among the 173 breeds and varieties taking part will be three breeds making their debut. The Irish Red and White Setter (Sporting Group) has been known in Ireland since the 17th century. The Norwegian Buhund (Herding Group) was a cherished companion of the Vikings. Today it’s a versatile farm dog whose canine resume includes herding livestock, guarding property and hunting game. The third newcomer is the Pyrenean Shepherd (Herding Group) nicknamed the “pyr shep,” which was originally bred in France.

This year, the Australian Shepherds have the largest entry for an individual breed with 44 competitors. And once again, there will be only one Dandie Dinmont Terrier in the competition. In 2007, another lone competitor in the breed named Harry, owned by comedian Bill Cosby, wowed the crowds with typical terrier attitude, and many thought he might win Best in Show.

Once again the canine pundits are looking favorably at another terrier. This time, it’s a Scottish terrier named Sadie, who won her 100th Best in Show title last year when she was named top dog at the National Dog Show. Other contenders include a Doberman Pinscher, a Puli that was in the Best in Show lineup last year and a Golden Retriever named Treasure.

Last year’s winner was a real underdog in the competition. A 10-year-old Sussex spaniel named Stump came out of retirement to beat the top contenders and take home the coveted trophy and gold and purple rosette.

So once again, the hot topic is undoubtedly who will follow such famous dogs as Stump, Uno the Beagle (2008), James, the Springer Spaniel (2007) Rufus the colored Bull Terrier (2006), Carlee, the German shorthaired pointer (2005) and a host of others over the show’s prestigious history? It all comes down to a dog’s performance on the day.

NBCSports.com will once again exclusively publish the odds on the world’s top dogs as compiled by John Avello, Las Vegas’s famous Wizards of Odds.

 

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