Since 1887, the Westminster Kennel Club has shown the way as the leader in dog show competitions held in the United States. In the beginning this was a way for hunters to demonstrate their “Gun dogs”. The Westminster Dog show has now become a world famous competition, where only the best of each breed contend for the title of “Best in Show.”
As the biggest all-dog breed show in the entire world, the Westminster Dog Show is now a national event. This show has millions of viewers who watch as the dogs are lead by their handlers. These dogs are tested by the judges, and finally narrowed down to the exclusive best dog at the show.
Dogs are estimated based on their alikeness to a “breed standard”. The judges rate the dogs with a series of numbers based on gait, color, size and symmetry. Different breeds have different principles. While some of the breed selections are subjective, the judges always try to do their best to match the breeds against the previously written arguments.
Each dog begins with others of its breed. These dogs are estimated individually and pointed down until the best in breed is selected. As soon as the best dog of each breed has been selected they are positioned in their suitable groups according to the type of dog they fall under.
In reality there are seven groups or classes:
- The Hound
- The Terrier
- The Non-Sporting
- The Herding
- The Sporting
- The Working
- The Toy
Each Group is estimated separately. The top 4 of each group are chosen for an extra judging, and the best in this group is selected and they move on to the final round. During the finishing round, the judges convene to judge each of the dogs that were named best in Group, and from those dogs, a best in show is selected.
Since the show started, its reputation has grown with each passing year. In the year 2008, a Beagle has won the Best in Show for the first time in Westminster history. While the Westminster Dog Show may not tempt everyone, but still it has become one of the preferred actions for dog owners and dog lovers through out the nation.
The Westminster Dog Show is a two day show which features more than 2,600 dogs and 165 breeds. You may be concerned to know that the dog show held at Westminster is one of the oldest yearly sporting events in the USA. This is second only to the Kentucky Derby.
Nowadays the Westminster dog show is not only for hunting dogs, but it includes all kinds of different breeds. The focus of the show has changed from performance to appearance as well. This show is now in its 132nd year. Champions who are selected are considered to have won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, of the canine world.
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