Man's best friend is set to dazzle, impress and strut in front of a worldwide audience at the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The premier dog show in the world is set for its 138th annual run in New York.
The event begins on Feb. 10. Here's the information needed to take it all in.
When: Feb. 10-11—8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Monday; 6 p.m.-11 p.m. on Tuesday
Where: The Piers 92/94 on Monday and Madison Square Garden on Tuesday
TV: Monday on CNBC, 8-11 p.m. ET; Tuesday on USA Network, 8-11 p.m. ET/5-8 p.m. PT
Live Stream: Live streaming of all breed judging will be available here
Various breed-specific events take place during the event. Each dog is judged based on how well it performs in exercises like agility drills. There's also a cosmetic portion of the judging in which the canines are evaluated according to their physical appearance and demeanor.
Each breed's parent club sets the standard. Based on that standard, a written specification for the ideal dog of that breed is generated. The dogs should perform in ways that are in line with the original function it was bred for.
The judging can be a gray area when it comes to physical characteristics. As the event's official website mentions:
Some standards can be very specific, some can be rather general and leave much room for individual interpretation by judges. This results in the sport's subjective basis: one judge, applying his or her interpretation of the standard, giving his or her opinion of the best dog on that particular day.
The judges for the event are always an esteemed group of qualified individuals. This year's judges are no exception to that rule.
Judging the top honor of Best in Show will be Ms. Betty Regina Leininger of Frisco, Texas, per the event's website.
Ms. Leininger is a breeder-owner-handler, professional handler, judge, teacher and author. She has been a licensed handler since 1971. Leininger will head a panel of 44 judges from 20 states. Obviously very honored by her selection, per Josh Pennell of The Telegram, Leininger said this of the event, "It’s the Super Bowl of dog shows.”
The group judges come from a wide variety of states throughout the United States. They are listed below. Their focus group is listed after their city and state of origin:
Mr. Sam Houston McDonald of Chester Springs, Penn., Sporting
Mr. Douglas Johnson of Bloomington, Ind., Hound
Mr. Clay Coady of Paradise Valley, Ariz., Working
Mr. Bruce Schwartz of Los Angeles, Calif., Terrier
Mrs. Keke Kahn of Sarasota, Fla., Toy
Mrs. Jacqueline Stacy of Chapel Hill, N.C., Non-Sporting
Mr. Walter Sommerfelt of Lenoir City, Tenn., Herding
Mr. Peter Kubacz of Jackson, N.J., will judge the Junior Showmanship finals.
There are a total of 190 breeds in the 2014 competition. Three of them will be appearing for the first time. They are the Rat Terrier (Terrier Group), the Chinook (Working Group) and the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (Hound Group).
The Rat Terrier
This breed is an excellent hunter and is described as "a well-muscled dog with a deep chest, strong shoulders, solid neck and powerful legs," per Dog Breed Info Center.
Chinooks are hard-working dogs, and they're also sled dogs. Their bodies are "well balanced; the chest is deep; moderate bone and flexible musculature are prominent."
Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
This is the smallest of the Portuguese Podengo breed, hence the word "pequeno," which is Spanish for small. It is a "very healthy breed. Because this breed has had relatively limited intervention by humans, it has a low incidence of known inherited defects or diseases."
All breed information per Dog Breed Info Center.