Westminster, for the love of dogs (and cats!)

by Nancy Hassel, ThisFurryLife.com

Every year I trek into New York City for Westminster, going on over a decade now – you would think after so many years that I would get sick of it.  But whoever gets sick of seeing adorable dogs, giant dogs, rare breed dogs, dogs flying through the agility course for their Masters Agility Championship or meeting rare cats?   Not I – why I always seem to end up there and always excited about it.

This is a new breed to Westminster this year, the Nederlandse kooikerhondje of the Sporting Group. Photo: Nancy Hassel.
This Rex was overlooking the crowd adorned in angel wings and rhinestone! Photo: Nancy Hassel

The love of dogs cannot keep me away, and I am not alone for people all over the country and world attend.  This year’s Meet the Breeds that and Westminster Championship Agility, that runs side by side at piers 92 and 94 on the same day was absolutely the most crowded it has ever been.  

Overlooking the crowd at AKC’s Meet the Breeds. Photo: Nancy Hassel


Whether you are there to learn about a breed of dog you are interested in, or were just there for the day with your family or friends – you were sure to meet and see dogs and cats you don’t regularly see.   You might even meet some famous Instagrammers there.   I know @TheDogist was there taking pictures and I met these two amazing Neopolitian mastiffs, @Barnabas.and.madeline.the.neos who post some hilarious posts daily. 

11-month-old Adaline – Neapolitan Mastiff Photo: Nancy Hassel

Working my way over to agility, I was so excited for one of our members of American Pet Professionals, Cara Armour of Pro Pet Training, who was there for the first time competing in agility with her boxer Debbie.  I got ringside just in time as they were just about to go in.  Cara mentioned she was a nervous but excited, and when they ran – they ran a clean fast course, I was so happy for her, I even got choked up.  If you don’t know – the road to Westminster agility competition is a long and dedicated one of competing practically every weekend in different areas and constant practice.  Debbie flew through the course like a pro, with ease and grace.   Big congrats to both of them!  See Cara and Debbie run in this video, they are the 3rd team to run here:

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Click to watch the video!

On night one of Westminster, the dog shows, they kicked off the show with celebrating this 101 Veteran with a standing ovation and the signing of Happy Birthday, it was so sweet – and people were on their feet for him for quite some time.  

IMG_3131Night one is the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups – and it’s always fun to hear the crowd erupted in cheering for their favorite of the night.  Night two is Sporting, Working and Terrier groups, and of course when the Terrier group went and Pancho (AmStaff) was pulled out first I was cheering for him, but sadly the Fox Terrier took the terrier group. Pancho placed 3rd I believe.  

Pancho the AmStaff, 2nd place in the Terrier Group. Photo Credit: Westminster Kennel Club

During Best In Show, the crowd was going absolutely berserk for Burns the Daschund, cheering so loudly you almost thought the judge would be swayed.  But the Wire Haired Fox Terrier, King, was the winner, this breed of dog taking Best In Show for the 15th time at Westminster.  

Best in Show winner King the Wire Fox Terrier. Photo Credit: Westminster Kennel Club

The crowd was actually booing a bit, and understandably, 15 times can’t another breed get a chance?  (Even though King was darn cute and showed really well).   I know that’s not how it is judged, but still.  I would have loved to see the Boxer win or the Daschund, but that is par for the course of being a fan of all dogs.   The Havanese took the Reserve Best in Show, and I have to say that pup is super cute!

Best of Breed and Reserve Best in Show the Havanese. Photo Credit: Westminster Kennel Club

I can tell though if the American Staffordshire Terrier ever one – I would have no voice left from cheering, crying and being beyond ecstatic to see an Amstaff in the Best In Show winners circle.  One can dream.   Save the date for next year’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show in February 2020!

This beautiful Bengal Cat taking it all in stride! Photo: Nancy Hassel
This adorable kitty may need some keratin hair treatment! (Joking!) Can you guess the American breed? Photo: Nancy Hassel


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