Fun facts & trivia about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: (134th annual is Feb 15-16, 2010)

The 134th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show started today and we are SO excited… we are especially psyched to see one of our very own local champions, CH Casanova the bulldog “represent” at the Best of Breed competition, and hopefully win the category to go on to compete for Best in Group, and then Best in Show! As we prepped for the next two days of prime-couch-time for Westminster, we thought it would be fun to research and share some Westminster Dog Show facts and trivia.

Did you know…?

1)  No other continuously held sporting event in the United States is older than the Westminster Dog Show except for the Kentucky Derby, which was first held in 1875 (The first Westminster Dog Show was held in 1877).

2) The Westminster Kennel Club was started by a group of hunting men who regularly met at the Westminster Hotel in New York City to promote interest in sporting (hunting) dogs, particularly setters and pointers. Prizes for these first shows were usually pearl-handled pistols!

3) The Westminster show has been held each year despite power shortages, hazardous snow storms, national depressions, and World Wars.

4) Westminster pre-dates the invention of the light bulb and the automobile, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument, the invention of basketball and the establishment of the World Series.

5) The Empire State Building first honored Westminster by lighting its tower in the Westminster colors of purple and gold in 2004 and will do so again in 2009.

6) There have been a total of 296,451 dogs entered in Westminster’s 133 shows through 2009.

Best In Show Facts:

1) Only once has the offspring of a Best In Show winner duplicated the feat. In 2000, the best in show winner was an English Springer Spaniel, offspring of 1993 Best In Show Champion Ch. Salilyn’s Condor.

2) If I was a “Gamblin’ Man” I might take a close look at the terrier group: As of the 132nd Westminster Show in 2008, Best in Show has been won by the Terrier Group  44 out of the 100 times that the prize has been awarded since 1907, more than twice as many wins as any other group, even though only 27 of the 157 (or 17%) officially recognized AKC breeds are terriers.

Westminster Welcomes Three New Breeds for 2010:

IRISH RED AND WHITE SETTER – Sporting Group
“Despite its name, the Irish Red and White Setter is a distinct breed, not just a different colored version of the Irish Setter. Bred primarily for the field, they should be strong, powerful and athletic, with a keen and intelligent attitude. The coat’s base color is white with solid red patches. Known in Ireland since the 17th century, the Red and White is thought to be the older of the two Irish Setters. However, it was nearly extinct by the end of the 19th century. During the 1920s, efforts were made to revive the Irish Red and White Setter and by the 1940s, the breed began to reemerge in Ireland.” (www.akc.org/breeds/irish_red_white_setter)

NORWEGIAN BUHUND – Herding Group
“Once the cherished companion of Vikings, the Norwegian Buhund is a versatile farm dog from Norway that herds livestock, guards property, and has been used for hunting game. The name means farm-dog –“Bu” in Norwegian means homestead or farm and “hund” means dog. The Buhund is a double-coated, squarely-built spitz, a little under medium size, with mobile prick ears, a tightly-curled tail carried over the center of its back, and dark, almond-shaped eyes with an intelligent, friendly expression. This working breed has a lot of energy, strength, and stamina, but is also known to be independent. (www.buhund.org)”

PYRENEAN SHEPHERD – Herding Group
“The Pyrenean Shepherd is also known by its French name, Berger des Pyrénées, but fanciers of the breed in America often shorten his name to “pyr shep.” Herding has been and remains the mainstay of the economy of the High Pyrenees, and the Pyrenean Shepherd is the traditional working companion of the larger dog, the Great Pyrenees. Together they aid the shepherd in his everyday workings with his herd of sheep or other livestock. Outside his homeland of France the breed is rare, but in France his popularity as a wonderfully devoted family companion has grown considerably since the early 1970s. Although small in stature and weight, it is said, “pound for pound, he has few equals in both herding or guarding.” (www.pyrshep.com)

Get ready for your close-up, doggies, are you prepared for the PAPARAZZI?:  The USA Network has a cute promo video for Westminster, featuring Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi, which you can see HERE.

Source: Westminster Facts and Figures