At 145 years old, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is one of the longest continuously-running sporting events in the U.S. — second only the Kentucky Derby. Now, for the first time in the club’s history, the iconic event will be held not at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, but right here in Westchester at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown.
While the ongoing pandemic has severely limited large social events and gatherings across the country, New York City — with its population density — has been especially hard-hit. Concerns for spectators, participants, and showrunners has prompted the historic club to choose a new site for its 2021 Dog Show competition, and that just so happens to be the (utterly gorgeous) Lyndhurst Estate.
“Hosting Best in Show at Lyndhurst brings together two American icons as the Westminster Dog Show is one of the oldest and most beloved sporting events in America and Lyndhurst is considered one of the finest and most beautiful 19th century homes in the country,” says Lyndhurst’s Executive Director Howard Zar.
The show will be held on June 11, 12, and 13, 2021, and, also for the first time, the Best in Show competition will be broadcast live on FOX. Additionally, three new breeds will join the 200-plus already eligible for competition: the Barbet French waterdog, the Belgian Laekenois, and the Dogo Argentino.
“We are excited to host the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Lyndhurst, a unique icon of American culture with its park-like landscape and majestic castle overlooking the Hudson River,” says Charlton Reynders III, President of the Westminster Kennel Club. “The wide-open outdoor space at this extraordinary venue allows us to hold a dog show safely while following current social distancing guidelines and public health regulations.” The beautiful grounds and long history of hosting other dog shows weren’t the only things that prepared Lyndhurst for Westminster, however.
“Lyndhurst has a long association with dogs and with dog shows. Four-legged friends, including Saint Bernards, Pekineses, purebreds, and rescues have long been residents of Lyndhurst,” adds Zar. “The Saint Bernard kennel built by Frank Gould still exists on the property, and in our collection we still hold the wicker dog crates and leashes used by fifth owner Anna Gould, Duchess of Taleyrand, when transporting her pet Pekineses.”
Tune in on Saturday, June 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to watch the agility finals on FOX, followed by the hound, toy, non-sporting, and herding group competitions until 11 p.m. Obedience and junior showmanship finals will take place on Sunday, June 13, followed by sporting, working, and terrier group competitions at 7 p.m. The winners from each group competition will then compete for the title of Best in Show.