Dog World All A-Twitter: Super Bowl of Dog Shows, 135th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2011 (video) — UPDATE: And The Best in Show Winner Is…
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on February 15, 2011
It’s the Super Bowl of dog shows — the Westminster Kennel Club being held in New York this week — and it has many people chewing their fingernails and others posting frantically to social network sites as the judges’ rulings come in. Others at the WKC competition are tweeting furiously. This dog competition is considered the most prestigious dog show in the entire nation. The Best in Show winner will be announced tonight.
UPDATE: Drumroll, please. The Best in Show winner is… scroll to the bottom of this post for the surprising winner.
Intriguing report here from L.A. Times about what the Las Vegas odds makers are offering, a list of winners so far posted at Paw Nation, and this behind-the-scenes write-up from Reuters about the breed winners so far, historical info, and predictions for the top dog prize:
A crowd-pleasing wrinkly Shar Pei, a bearded collie and a gangly Scottish deerhound were poised to paw their way to victory and make history on Tuesday at the prestigious Westminster Dog Show.
No member of their breeds has ever won the top prize in the famed show’s 135-year history.
The biggest honor — to be named best-in-show among some 2,600 entrants — is chosen on Tuesday evening at Madison Square Garden.
Four group winners were picked on Monday from the toy, nonsporting, hound and herding groups, while winners from the sporting, working and terrier groups were being picked on Tuesday, the second day of the two-day show.
The top dogs in each of the seven groups vie for best-in-show.
If history is any guide, the bearded collie named Mister Baggins will face tough going. There has been only one best-in-show, a German Shepherd, from the herding group.
Las Vegas oddsmakers call the Shar Pei named Miss Jayne Hathaway a long shot, with odds of 110-to-1 on her chances of winning. Then again, her breed has never before graced the best-in-show ring at all, so change could be afoot.
The Pekingese who won the toy group could have an edge as the fluffy, somewhat comical dogs have won best-in-show three times at Westminster.
Terriers, whether they are Fox, wire-haired or Scottish, have dominated the competition with an astounding 45 Westminster wins, nearly half the total. Best-in-show prizes has been awarded 103 times over the years.
By comparison, hounds have only won four times.
Tuesday’s victor, of whichever of the 179 breeds competing, will have a challenge eclipsing the beagle Uno who charmed judges, the crowd and television viewers in 2008 to become one of the most popular ever, baying joyously when he won.
But popularity going into the show does not seem to help. Neither of the most popular U.S. dog breeds, the Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever, has ever won the top prize.
While only 45 breeds have ever won best-in-show, age seems no barrier. Winners have ranged from 9 months to more than 10 years old.
Two years ago another crowd pleaser, a plodding Sussex spaniel named Stump, came out of retirement and trotted off as the oldest winner in Westminster history.
USA Today: The Road to Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show | February 2011
From DogChannel.com, Top Show Dogs for 2010 Honored:
More than 300 purebred dog fanciers gathered Feb. 12 to honor the top show dogs and show dog people of 2010 at the 56th Annual Show Dogs of the Year Awards dinner, presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City by Dogs In Review magazine.
The awards, sponsored by Purina® Pro Plan®, are presented annually to the seven dogs that win the most Variety Group Firsts at American Kennel Club conformation dog shows during a calendar year, and to the single dog that wins the most Best in Show awards, plus the top obedience dog.
Also honored during the evening were the winners of the coveted Winkies for Annual Achievement, sponsored by CareCredit®. These winners are selected by votes from their peers.
Recognized for their impressive number of Group First wins were:
Best in Show Dog of the Year: The top prize went to the winner of the Show Dog of the Year Award for the Terrier Group, the Smooth Fox Terrier, Ch. J’Cobe Kemosabe Vigilante Justice, call name Dodger. Dodger has won 157 Group Firsts. He is owned by Howard and Sandra Hoffen, and Phil and Amy Booth, handled by Amy Rodriguez Booth, and bred by William Dalling and Stacy Turner.
Smooth Fox Terrier, CH J’Cobe Kemosabe Vigilante Justice, aka “Dodger” – Best in Show at Roanoke Kennel Club on 8/7/10
From News Leader, Stunning movements move dog show judges:
STAUNTON — When Peg Carty saw Finn she knew he was special.
On Monday the Glen of Imaal terrier proved her right by winning best in breed at the Westminster Kennel Club competition, the Super Bowl of dog shows.
Finn, Carty said, is a standout because he almost perfectly meets the standards for his breed.
“He has stunning movements,” Carty said, as well as a desirable look and proportions.
Although Carty, who owns a dog kennel in Staunton with her husband, bred Finn and still co-owns him, he now lives in Denver, Pa., with another family.
Dogs are invited to compete in the Westminster dog show based on their showings in competitions throughout the year.
Many dogs “campaign” and compete in competitions all year-round, Carty said. Finn, however, does not have a professional handler and has only been shown in 15 to 20 contests this year.
But a lot of work does go into getting a dog ready for a big competition, Carty said. Finn has been to handling classes and taught proper socialization, and is on a strict diet and exercise regime.
“You breed to better the breed,” Carty said. “It’s nice that judges recognize your accomplishments.”
From Associated Press, Westminster a-twitter: Tech tricks at old dog show:
NEW YORK (AP) — Sitting high up in section 118, Linda Melvin kept her eyes fixed on the Gordon setters competing on the floor at Madison Square Garden. A seat away, her daughter fixated on her cell phone.
Krista Piller was busy posting on Facebook: “Wants a big dog to win the WKC dog show this year.”
“I’ll being putting up more, too,” Piller said.
From the stands, to the green-carpeted rings to backstage, people were a-twitter Tuesday — iPads, Blackberries, Droids and then some at an event that started in 1877. Signs of social media were everywhere at the Westminster Kennel Club show.
Proving, in fact, that it is indeed possible to teach an old dog show new tech tricks.
“It is now uploaded!” exclaimed Lorraine Shore of Sequim, Wash.
In town with a pair of German pinschers, her peeps worldwide could see on YouTube how her favorite pooches fared.
“From Germany to Australia to California, people are waiting for my postings,” she said. “People who have never been here, now they’ve experienced Westminster.”
Judge Paolo Dondina of Italy was set to pick the best in show shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday. The top sporting, working and terriers will be chosen earlier in the evening.
Already in the best-of-seven ring are a bearded collie, a Pekingese, a Chinese shar-pei and a Scottish deerhound, all group winners Monday night.
Among the owners showing early Tuesday: Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, an Army surgeon who was shot down from a helicopter during the Persian Gulf War and briefly held as a prisoner of war. She was at the Garden showing a Gordon setter.
Cornum was clear on which was more difficult, ascending in the show ring or in the military.
“No question, it is dogs,” she said.
David Frei, now in his 22nd year of hosting the Westminster telecast, hoped to have time to answer on air questions that dog fans submitted through Twitter and Facebook.
Some were basic: Why has a golden retriever never won? Why do handlers hold treats for dogs in their mouths?
Others, a little more specific: “My standard poodle is a reading therapy dog and I was wondering why he can’t help me in math? I know that he notices if he doesn’t get the same amount of dog biscuits as the other dogs.”
“You’re watching TV and working on your laptop and we want to be interactive with what’s going on live,” Frei said.
Westminster has nearly 49,000 friends on Facebook, and Susi Szeremy of the kennel club’s social media team said 4,000 more joined during Monday night’s telecast. There are about 2,400 followers Tweeting along — litters of twitters.
An 85-pound Scottish deerhound called Hickory fared well Monday, winning the hound group. A rookie Pekingese took the toy round, a Chinese shar-pei became the first of its breed to win the nonsporting group and a bearded collie was the herding champ.
On Tuesday, winners will be named in the remaining categories – sporting, working and terrier. Then, one of those seven champion canines will be crowned top dog.
Judge Paolo Dondina of Italy is expected to choose the Best in Show shortly before 11 p.m. The show will be televised on the USA network from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., EDT.
UPDATE: The Best in Show winner of the WKC competition has been announced!
Hickory, winner of the hound group, beat out the six other group winners to claim the silver cup.
As the Kennel Club’s 135th champion, Hickory becomes the first ever Scottish Deerhound to win the Westminster Dog Show. “The crowd erupted with joy at the judge’s unusual choice,” a Westminster Kennel Club press representative told NewsFeed.
Italian judge Paolo Dondina is only the fifth non-American to make the ultimate decision at Westminster. He wasn’t permitted to see any of the dogs until judgment time arrived, only hearing tales of the victors. His unexpected choice brought cheers from the audience.
The prestigious competition showed off 2,622 dogs around the ring at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday. Each was primped to strut his or her stuff for the judges. And even the addition of six new breeds was no match for Hickory, whose formal name is Foxcliffe Hickory Wind. She unleashed her beautiful gait for Dondina and seemed to be a crowd favorite long before her crowning, grabbing the attention of Facebookers and Tweeters.
NEW YORK (AP) — A Scottish deerhound that loves to chase wild animals caught her biggest prize yet, winning best in show Tuesday night at the Westminster Kennel Club.
A 5-year-old named Hickory pulled a huge surprise at Madison Square Garden, bounding away with the title of America’s top dog.
Judge Paolo Dondina of Italy picked 85-pound Hickory from a best-of-seven final show ring that truly sounded international — there was a Pekingese, Portuguese water dog, Chinese shar-pei, smooth fox terrier, bearded collie and black cocker spaniel.
A couple of those pooches on the green-carpeted ring with Hickory were among the country’s top show dogs in 2010. Hickory wasn’t on that list, but she got to wag her long tail at the end after becoming the first kind of her breed to win the purple-and-gold ribbon and shiny silver bowl.
“People who own, breed, show dogs dream of this day,” handler Angela Lloyd said.
Hickory lives on a 50-acre farm in Warrenton, Va., where she enjoys running after deer and rabbits. Owners Sally Sweatt and Cecilia Dove and Dr. Scott Dove will certainly let her romp all she wants after this victory.
The 135th Westminster was considered a wide-open field from the start. A smooth fox terrier that was the No. 1 show dog of 2010 recently retired and an Australian shepherd that won the big AKC/Eukanuba event did not enter.
Hickory won the hound group Monday night, then had to wait around all day for her big chance. That was a lot to ask for dogs that feel most comfortable in the wild, and she clearly managed to do just fine.
Lloyd had won at Westminster before — in 1998, she was honored for her handling in the junior showmanship for youngsters who hope to work in the dog world.