Countdown To Westminster

Unless you’re reading this before 9 a.m., I’m on my way to New York City and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. If it’s before 9, then I’m frantically packing. And yes, that’s singular. Jim stays home and takes care of our dogs so I can “go to the dogs” in New York.

I have several breeds I want to see, so I’ll have a busy schedule. Corgis are at the top of my list. Next are the greyhounds. Sinclairville native Jeff Winton has one of his greyhounds entered, so I’ll be cheering for her. I also want to see the two new breeds in the show this year. They are the Russell terrier and the Treeing Walker coonhound.

From what I can tell from photos, the Russell terrier looks like what was generally called a Jack Russell terrier before the American Kennel Club recognized the breed.

A few years ago, the AKC recognized the Parson Russell terrier, which is a taller dog, standing 13 to 15 inches high at the withers, as opposed to the Russell terrier at 10-12 inches.

According to the AKC website, the Russell terrier was developed in Australia and may have been a cross between the Parson Russell terrier and a corgi. The original stock for both breeds was developed by Parson John (Jack) Russell who wanted to have a small terrier that could be sent down holes after foxes.

I want to see the Treeing Walker coonhound also. This breed was developed from the American foxhound and has similar markings. From the photo on the AKC website, it looks like the coonhound has slightly longer ears than a foxhound. Otherwise, I can’t tell much difference, so it will be good to see an actual dog. Both the coonhound and the foxhound are benched in the same section, so maybe I can see more differences between the breeds if I run quickly between rows.

One of the problems with this year’s show is that there are two buildings, which means that dogs I want to see may be in two different locations, and, they may be being judged at the same time. At least in Madison Square Garden, you could watch part of the judging in one ring, and then, by walking briskly, catch the action in another ring. I don’t think navigating the Piers will be that easy. Of course, I’ve never been there, so maybe it will be easier than I think.

I don’t want to miss seeing the Norwegian Lundehund. There’s only one entered, which is amazing. I know it’s not a hugely popular breed, but there had to be more than one invited. (Westminster, unlike other dog shows, invites top dogs to attend, before opening entries to the general public). There may be a conflict, though, because the Lundehund is being shown in one building and Junior Showmanship is in another, and this year, I really want to see the juniors. (I’ll talk more about juniors next week).

On Tuesday, I’ll see what dogs, besides the Russell terrier, my in-laws want to see. My sister-in-law, her husband, and a friend, will be joining me, and they may have their own favorites. I’ll just tag along, because, really, all the dogs are terrific, and it’s all fun to watch. And speaking of watching, clear your schedules for the group judging Monday and Tuesday nights, from 8-11 p.m. Cheer for your favorite breed, and maybe fall in love with another one, all from the comfort of your favorite chair.

Pawprint: I love the chance to attend the show and to enjoy New York City, but this year, I have another reason for going as well. This year, The Dog Writers Association of America has nominated one of my books for a prestigious Maxwell Award. “American Pit Bull Terrier” is one of three books nominated in their category, so I have my fingers crossed that my book will win. I’ve won awards for my writing about cats, and I’ve been nominated for a Maxwell before, but I’ve never won. Heck, I’m not just crossing my fingers. My arms and legs are crossed, and I’m trying to cross my eyes.

Even if I don’t win, it will be fun to see friends at the dinner.

Pawprint: For those who may be wondering about Gael and her kitchen floor phobia, she is just fine. She scampers in and out and around, and it’s as if it never happened.