I can explain, though. My two favorite February events collided this year: the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York and the Mystic Krewe of Barkus parade in New Orleans. When my friend Jody (Charlie's breeder and a traveling buddy of many years' standing) suggested we return to New Orleans for the Barkus parade, some gumbo, and a change of scenery from northern winter, I was powerless to refuse.
More about Barkus later. Let's talk about Westminster!
Congratulations to CH Palacegarden Malachy, a 4-year-old Pekingese who has been a contender for the top honors at the Garden for a couple of years now. Yes, we've heard all the "footstool" jokes — but he won, and that's that.
The Best of Breed-winning Beardie, GCH Daybar Blew By U, is a handsome bluey who has done well for himself, winning at least one Regional Specialty that I'm aware of. He was at the 2011 BCCA National but, like Dinah, was dumped early on. (It was not our winningest show ever, but at least Badger Blue got his HIC.)
Our buddy Beanie (GCH Highlander MacBean) made a good showing, and folks had better watch out for him. He's coming back again, and he's going to shine!
Big Changes for Westminster 2013
Next year's Westminster will take place on February 11-12, 2013. Because of ongoing construction at the Garden and expanded entries, next year's show will be split across two venues.
Breed judging and benching for both days will take place at Piers 92/94, located at 55th Street and the West Side Highway. Groups, Best in Show, and the finals for Juniors will be held back at the Garden in the evenings.
This sounds like a tremendous pain in the tuchus, but this should free up some breathing room in the benching and grooming areas. With the expanded number of entries (increasing to 3200 dogs from roughly 2000), it probably still means that you'll have to leave the above-ground pool and BBQ at home, but things should be much less cramped.
Yes, More Dogs! Maybe Even Yours!
You might have heard old-timers in your breed wax rhapsodical about the days when you could finish a class dog at Westminster. "Now THAT was a finish!", they'd say. Westminster has been open only to Champions of Record for a number of years now, and having your entry accepted in the first place is like winning the lottery (unless you're lucky enough to have finished in the Top 5 in your breed, in which case you're invited).
If that sounds like a story you dream of telling someday, you're in luck. Westminster 2013 is expanding entries to include class dogs and bitches who have won at least one major. You'll still need to enter and keep your fingers crossed that your entry gets picked, but at least you can try. Winners of a breed's National Specialty will be invited to enter along with the Top 5.
The official Westminster press release that details the changes can be found here.