Photo by J. Grassa for WKC
The county will once again serve as an elegant backdrop for the best canines in the country to strut their stuff on a national stage.
Celebrating its 146th year, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has headed north, to Westchester County, for the second year in a row — a move spurred by the rise in COVID-19 cases at the end of 2021. Rather than risk cancellation of the competition, originally slated for the third week of January, the choice was made to move the dog show to June and back to Lyndhurst in Tarrytown.
After the Kentucky Derby, the Westminster Dog Show is the longest continually running sporting event in the U.S. And while the event has spent more than 100 years in Manhattan, the change of scenery is a welcome diversion for many, especially those with four paws.
“The primary advantage to being at Lyndhurst and outdoors and having most of the judging outside is that the dogs like it better,” says Gail Miller Bisher, director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club and a Fox Sports analyst for the show itself. “It’s a preference for the dogs; the dogs love being outside. They show better, generally, when they’re outside and feel better.”
The venue isn’t the only change worthy of tail wags: The club has announced it’s recognizing two new breeds this year, both eligible to compete for Best in Show in all American Kennel Club shows. Keep your eyes peeled for the Russian toy (aptly in the Toy group) and the Mudi, a descendant of Hungarian sheepdogs and participating in the Herding group.
The longstanding tradition of the Westminster show combined with the regal history of Lyndhurst lends an extra dimension of refinement to the event. “Westminster is such a magical experience,” says Lyndhurst’s executive director, Howard Zar. “Many of us have dogs as pets, and you don’t necessarily realize how incredibly well trained the competing dogs are. They’re essentially actors for pets; it’s like having Meryl Streep on a leash. It’s amazing to see the dogs with their handlers and how incredibly professional they are.”
Has our barking yet to convince you? Tune into the FOX Sports’ broadcast, June 18–22, and tell us that it doesn’t look like an all-canine cast of Bridgerton.