By the end of the night a new dog will be crowned the king of canines at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The world-famous showdown, which culminates in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, is a festival of doggy culture, master breeding, and the best training a dog can get. But, with puppy pound awareness at an all-time high, is the best-in-show, breed-specific event in need of some behavior modification?
The Westminster Show is a tradition that spans the chronology of pet culture from a time when dogs were most commonly put to work on farms or guard duty, through the pet boom in the 20th century, and into today’s dog loving culture. The kennel club has adapted over thirteen decades to still be a relevant authority on dogs today. While they have stayed true to their roots – continuing to differentiate, demarcate, and celebrate purebred dogs, as they will tonight at the Westminster Show – the kennel club has also been a consistent force for the humane treatment of dogs.
Today’s Westminster Show is as much a meeting place for dog enthusiasts as it is a fierce competition amongst breeders and trainers. The Pennsylvania Hotel, for instance, is accommodating doggy guests with a doggie spa, complete with doggie treadmills, and a doggie concierge service that greets dogs with treats and room service. For ticket holders, the show is an opportunity to meet fellow dog lovers, learn more about caring for dogs, and to get samples of the best foods, treats, skin & coat products, and anything else dogs need.
At the end of the day, the question on everyone’s lips is who is “Best in Show,” so it’s no surprise that some dog enthusiasts object. Ranking dogs, like awarding prizes to children at a spelling bee, can be an emotional business. There may continue to be a schism between the pet parents who dislike romanticizing the concept of a pure breed and those who see the show as good sport and an opportunity to showcase all of the love, sweat, and tears that goes into having a dog.
Regardless of which side of the room you choose to stand in, we think today is a perfect day to love your dog and take pride in who they are. If there is one thing that can’t be disputed it is the journey that people and dogs have taken together, over more than a century, that has brought us here today.
PetCareRx is proud to provide the products and support that help people and dogs interact as well as they do. In our book, every dog is best in show.