For many people, it’s just another cute dog show, but for the serious dog lovers, the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is no joke.
And if you love going awwww over your furry friends, here’s what you need to know:
What is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the second oldest continuous sporting event in the United States, after the Kentucky Derby. It is also the longest nationally televised live dog show, according to the Westminster Kennel Club.
Dogs are invited to compete based on strict entry requirements, including how many other dogs they’ve defeated in breed competitions. Non-invited dogs can also compete if they have won a certain number of major dog show awards.
Breeds are categorized into groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.
After being divided into breeds, they are then divided again into varieties based on their coat (Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Collies), color (Cocker Spaniels, Bull Terriers, and English Toy Spaniels), or size (Beagles, Manchester Terriers, and Poodles).
The dogs compete for Best in Breed, then move up to Best in Group, then compete for the grand prize of Best in Show.
When is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
The 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is scheduled to take place outdoors at Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York on Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 13.
This is the first time the competition will take place far from the city. The all-breed show has been held in New York’s Madison Square Garden every year since 1877, but was relocated this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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,” said Westminster Kennel Club President Charlton Reynders III in a press release. “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 show will return to New York City in 2022.
How to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
On Saturday, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST on FOX, FOX NOW App, and the FOX Sports App. Group judging (Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding Groups) will begin at 7:30 p.m.
On Sunday, the show will continue at 9:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST on the FOX NOW App and FOX Sports App. Group Judging (Sporting, Working, Terrier Groups, followed by Best in Show) will begin at 7:30 p.m.
No spectators or vendors will be allowed to attend the show due to the state’s Covid-19 regulations. Any human participants must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of entry.
Most of the show will take place outdoors due to New York state health guidelines.
This year the Westminster Kennel Club will be showing 206 breeds and 2,500 dogs from around the world. There is a Best in Show category, of course, but there are many other categories in which trophies can be won, including groups for sporting, working and herding dogs.
Four new breeds will now be allowed to compete for the first time: the barbet, the dogo Argentino, the Belgian Laekenois, and the Biewer terrier.
There are also two special categories.
The Masters Agility Championship demonstrates how well a dog can follow its handler’s instructions and requires rigorous conditioning, teamwork and training. The finals will stream on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on FOX, FOX NOW App, and the FOX Sports App.
Any dog can participate in this category, including mixed breeds, but the most common breeds are border collies, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, cocker spaniels and papillons.
The Masters Obedience Championship judges a dog’s ability to follow instructions and finally perform a “six-minute routine (designed by the handler) to showcase the broad spectrum of obedience.” The finals will stream live on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on westminsterkennelclub.org.