Most people keep a dog as a pet and periodically use a boarding kennel. The much loved companion that curls up in front of the fire and loves to visit the kennel staff. They may not be the finest looking or the most obedient pet but they are part of the family. For some owners, that doesn’t go far enough and they enter their dog into dog shows. It’s a time consuming hobby but participants are passionate about it, proud to show off their champion dog. A winning dog carries a lot of prestige and puppies from breeding can be worth a lot of money.
There are many small and larger events across the world and most have nearby kennels to help with boarding during the event. Two of the most prestigious annual dog shows are Crufts in the UK and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the United States. Crufts takes place every March in the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and is organized by the Kennel Club. It is the largest show of its kind in the world and runs over four days. Started in 1886, the competition is not an open one and dogs are only eligible if they have already had competitive success in other championship dog shows.
The Best of Show award is the top accolade and dogs have to win their Best of Breed category to go forward for it. Best of Breed winners are the seven dogs that represent the seven groups. These group winners compete with each other for Best in Show. The groups, as classified in the UK rules for dog shows, are Toys, Gundogs, Utility, Hounds, Working, Pastoral and Terriers. There is also a Reserve Best in Show and a Best Puppy award. The supreme champion dog in 2007 is a Tibetan Terrier.
The Westminster Show runs for two days and takes place at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. Due to the lack of room at nearby boarding kennels, many participants must find their own ways to board their pet. The first show was held in 1877 and it is judged by the American Kennel Club. Television coverage began in 1948. The show has grown in popularity over the years and the organizers decided to control the number of entries.
From 1992, dogs can only enter if they are already breed champions. In 2005, there were 2,581 entries. Groups in American dog shows are divided in to Terrier, Sporting, Working, Non-Sporting, Toy, Hound and Herding. Terriers have won the show many more times than any other group. Only two dogs have won, both Crufts and the Westminster Show, which means that those two dogs are very special indeed.