This storied event has serious history—the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second longest running sporting event in the US, after the Kentucky Derby. This year marks the 143rd annual. Tune in Monday, February 11 to see the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding breeds, and Tuesday, February 12 for all Sporting, Working, and Terrier breeds, plus the big attraction, Best in Show. Also taking place Monday is the super-fun Masters Obedience Championship, open to purebred and mixed breeds alike.
Do like many of the Westminster competitors and stay at the supremely dog-friendly Hotel Pennsylvania, located directly across the street from Madison Square Garden where Best in Show takes place. In addition to being ideally situated, you’ll likely find yourself sharing the hotel lobby and elevators with show dogs, allowing you to pet the elaborately coiffed pups and chat with the owners!
For centuries, this agile little orange-red and white dog from Holland has used his gaily waving tail to lure ducks. The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje was bred to move quietly around screens, luring ducks down a water channel to be captured in an elaborate pond trapping system called “Eendenkoo.” Amazingly, this system is still used today to catch wild
ducks for banding.
The Baroness von Hardenbroek von Ammerstol saved the Kooikerhondje from extinction in 1939. She gave a picture to a peddler and asked him to look out for such dogs. With his help, she located a dog named Tommie whose foundation litter was
born in 1942.
143 years old, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second longest running sporting event in the US, after the Kentucky Derby.
Today, the “Kooiker” competes in agility, obedience/rally, barn hunt, and flyball with the enthusiastic cheerfulness. They are also content to curl up on the sofa. The Westminster Kennel Club notes that the black feathering on the ears, called “earrings,” are highly desirable but not required.
This noble breed is a rough-coated scent hound with elongated Basset structure, weighing approximately 45 to 55 pounds. Over 400 years of evolution resulted in the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, or the “GBGV” or “Grand,” as the breed is affectionately known. Developed from hounds at the close of the 19th century in the Vendéen region of France, today the breed is still used throughout Europe to hunt in packs, it’s quarry rabbits and wild boar.
While elements of the breed’s physique may appear exaggerated, the Westminster Kennel Club prizes a free and easy gait at all paces and the breed’s independence and natural instincts. The GBGV is favoured as a hunter, companion, and friend to those willing to take the time to nurture and appreciate the characteristics that make this a unique breed.