EverythingDogBlog #126: The Other Westminster (not the town in Maryland)
The First-Ever-at-Westminster Agility Competition
Will you be watching the first Agility Dog Competition associated with the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Saturday? From 7-9 pm ET on FOX Sports 1, the best of the 225 dogs entered in agility will compete with their handlers. (Agility is actually a team sport with teams composed of one dog and one person). This year Westminster opens its doors to the All-American dog, too.
Agility is like an obstacle course for dogs and is the fastest growing of all dog sports. The dog’s person tells or indicates which obstacles to take in which order and dogs run for best times and ‘clean runs’ (no missed obstacles and none taken out of order).
Agility obstacles include hoops to jump through, tunnels to run through, poles to weave through, broad jumps and high jumps to jump over, an A-frame to run up and down, a teeter-totter to navigate and a ‘table’ to pause on, among others. Each competition has a different course order that the humans can walk through at the last moment but the dogs never see until their turn to run.
If you are in New York, the day’s competition can be seen in person for $20.
Fun Facts about Westminster
This year sports 2845 dog entries among 187 breeds from all states except Arkansas. Dogs also come from Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and 127 dogs hail from 13 foreign countries.
The ever-popular Labrador Retriever winner will have to surpass 75 other labs while goldens number 58. Rarer breeds like the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the English Fox Hound and the Finnish Spitz will have only one dog each (competing against the breed standard, of course), outnumbered by two entries of the breeds Komondorok, Kuvaszok, Swedish Valhund, Harrier and the breed that won Best in Show in 2006 – the Colored Bull Terrier.
And, hopefully again this year, the Empire State Building will be lit with gold and purple lights!
Important Information about Westminster
Tune in Monday night from 8-11 pm ET on CNBC for the finals of the Toy, Non-Sporting, Hound and Herding Groups and Tuesday evening for the finals of the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups as well as the coveted Best in Show. Each of these days can be experienced in person for $27.50 while the evening competitions can be seen for $40 or $55 plus.
I, for one, will be glued to my television screen!
Read more about it: New Breeds This Year At Westminster, in a previous EverythingDogBlog
(This first appeared in ColumbiaPatch.com on 7 February 2014.) (Photos credit Westminster Kennel Club)