February 20, 2009
By James Klein
New York (KPRENSA) The Westminster Dog Show is one of the most famous dog exhibitions in the world. It’s a two day competition that takes place every year at Madison Square Garden in New York. Last week, on February 9th and 10th, the Westminster Kennel Club presented the 133rd edition.
Dogs from all over the world are brought to New York to compete in the show and be critiqued by judges from the American Kennel Club. An extensive variety of dogs are on display at Westminster and the average person has never heard of many of the breeds participating in the competition. Each year the show is televised and covers the 2500 dogs and 150 breeds that participate.
The competition offers prizes for best of each breed and the best of each of seven designated groups. The seven winners of best of group then compete for Westminster’s coveted title as “Best in Show”. This year “Best in Show was won by Stump, a Sussex Spaniel.
Mexican handlers have success
The “handler” is the professional presenter of dogs in shows like Westminster. The dog show’s purpose is to showcase the breeds structural differences as well as the physical. Therefore, it is necessary for each dog handler to be highly responsible and experienced, so as to not transmit any nervousness to the dog. It is also important for the handler to be skilled at training, trimming, and grooming the dog so that its virtues stand out and its defects are minimized. Two of the better handlers of dogs this year at Westminster were Mexicans.
Ernesto Lara, originally from Mexico City, won best in breed with his Havanese “PJ.” This breed comes from the Western Mediterranean region and was developed along the Spanish and Italian coasts. It would seem that these dogs were imported early in Cuba by ocean navigating Italian captains. However, political events have led to the total disappearance of the old blood lines of the Havanese in Cuba but their descendants have survived in the United States.
Gabriel Rangel, also originally from Mexico City, won one of the seven “best of group” awards for the terrier group with his Scottish Terrier “Sadie.” Created in Scotland (the country to which it owes its name) in 1700, it resulted from the cross breeding of an Aberdeen Terrier with other short legs burrow dogs (possibly with the Cairn Terrier). In its country of origin it was quickly appreciated for its sturdiness and its firmness of character, characteristics that led to its diffusion throughout Europe. Today, the Scottish Terrier is one of the best known terriers in the world.
Unfortunately, out of all the champions and marvelous dogs, only one dog will get the top prize at the Westminster Dog Show. It is the prize most coveted in the dog show world.