Westminster 2011 Finale is Madison Square Garden Sell Out

The Westminster Kennel Club presented its 135 th Annual Dog Show recently atMadisonSquareGardenCenterinNew York City. This year’s show included 197 canine breeds with competitions in the "Hound," "Toy," "Non-Sporting," and "Herding" group categories the first evening, competitions in the "Sporting," "Working," and "Terrier" groups on the second and final evening, preceding the "Best in Show" award.

David Rei, Director of Communications for Westminster, talks with the news media in preparation for the final night of the Show and the big finale "Best in Show" event.

Westminsteris a dog lover’s dream event, but even the uninitiated know "Sadie," the sweet black Scotty dog (or "CH. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot") that seemed to turn up everywhere in the media after winning the 2010 Best in Show event.

Hickory's handler, Angela Lloyd, talks with the press about their big win as the 2011 Westminster Best in Show.

This year’s winner was a female Scottish Deerhound, "Foxcliffe Hickory Wind," from the Hound variety group. Born on December 20, 2005, the dog is owned by Sally Sweatt, Cecilia L. Dove and Dr. R. Scott Dove ofMinneapolis,MN. The Scottish Deerhound breed was first shown atWestminsterin 1877, but one had not yet won Best in Show. "Foxcliffe Hickory Wind" begins a whirlwind NYC media tour the day following her win with appearances on several major morning television shows, a luncheon at Sardi’s and an appearance at the New York Stock Exchange.

Judge takes a final look at a breed group before choosing the Best of Breed

Finalist competitors included a Bearded Collie/Herding group (#6, "GCH Sunland’s Marie’s Antoinette"), a Portugese Water Dog/working group (#20 "GCH Aviators Luck Be a Lady"), a Black Cocker Spaniel/sporting group (#22 "GCH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction"), a Smooth Fox Terrier/Terrier group (#7 "Slyfox Sneak’s a Peek"), a Chinese Sharpei/Non-sporting group (#15, GCH Vayje’s Miss Jayne Hathaway"), and Pekingese/Toy group (#8 "Palacegarden Malachy"). Contenders provided stiff competition: the Fox Terrier has 54 prior Best in Show placements in other competitions, and it’s notable that insiders and media were touting the potential winner to be the Pekingese, calling it an "epic Pekingese," thus adding to the surprise value of the winning breed.

Handler Angela Lloyd and Best in Show Judge Paolo Dondina present Hickory to the press

This year’s Best in Show judge, Paola Dondina, hails fromMonterchi,Italy. He is the first Italian and the first person from outside ofNorth Americasince 1930 to judge this portion of the competition. Prior international judges hail from theUKandCanada. Although his first time judging atWestminster, Dondina began his career in 1969.

It’s worth noting that watching the Best in Show event- and the qualifiers leading up to it- feels a bit like watching the Super Bowl. The event is perpetually sold out, andMadisonSquareGardenhas that same mesmerizing atmosphere with bright lights and cheering crowd that one might find at any legendary sporting event.

Janice Wolfe, the "New Jersey Dog Whisperer" and founder of Merlin's Kids, snuggles her Rhodesian Ridgeback Wyatt. Wyatt is one of many beloved dogs that work with autistic children to keep them safe.

A narrator that evening might record something like this:

Without any hesitation, Judge Paolo Dondina approaches the table of officials and writes down his picks. These are officially recorded, and people are instantly in motion with long-tailed award ribbons.  Attendees all lean forward in their seats, straining to see which will be the luckiest dog. Finally, the judge addresses the crowd and pandemonium breaks out.

The Best in Show award goes to the Scottish Deerhound!The crowd leaps to its feet and the media scramble out of their press box seats to go chase after the handlers and get quotes in order to file before midnight. Later, the judge will tell us in a press conference that he has always wanted to own a deerhound.It's a landmark evening for everyone:  the handler won at Westminster as a junior handler many years ago, and this will be the dog's last show, so it can retire in the highest champion status it can attain.  Such an evening! Our beloved "Sadie" now has competition in the doggie spotlight- and the dog world has something else to talk about!

Show Chairman, Thomas H. Bradley III, welcomes media to the 135th Westminster Show and takes questions in the press room

The panel of judges for this year’s Show included Barbara Dempsey Alderman from Pennsylvania, Peter A. Baynes from South Carolina, Edd E. Bivin and Betty Regina Leininger from Texas, Lee Canalizo, Dorothy N. Collier, and Frank T. Sabella from Florida, W. Everett Dean, Jr., Rosalind Kraus Kramer, and Dr. and Mrs. Robert D. Smith from Virginia, Gary L. Doerge and Linda Pitts from Tennessee, Marsha Hall Brown, Michael J. Dougherty, Leonard S. Reppond, Robert Stein, and Burton J. Yamada from California, Paula and Rodger Hartinger from Ohio, Robert A. Indeglia from Rhode Island, Douglas A. Johnson from Indiana, H. Scott Kellogg from Maryland, Marjorie Martorella from New Jersey, Dennis McCoy from North Carolina, Kenneth M. McDermott from New York, Lynette J. Saltzman from Connecticut, Bob G. Smith from Louisiana, Cindy Vogels from Colorado, and James G. Reynolds from Ontario, Canada, Age Gjetnes and Espen Engh from Norway.

Visitors are welcomed to the "benching" area where all dogs can be seen- and, in many cases, ooh-ed and ah-ed over, photographed, and petted.

Competing dogs are benched throughout their showing day from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.- and what a delight that is for Show attendees. Being able to view the contenders before and after judging- and even pet them- is big fun for all ages.

A Bernese Mountain Dog readies for grooming prior to judging in the breed event

Exhibitors at the Show included the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the American Kennel Club, Amore dei cani, Angel on a Leash, the Animal Medical Center, the ASPCA, B.B. Unlimited, Inc., Bow Tie, B-Unique, Cherrybrook, Crate Covers and More, Dog News, Fine Art Collections, Grizzly Pet Product, Karen Lefrak, Les Pooch’s Fragrance, Mackenzie, Mar’s Pedigree/Snacks and Treats, Memories/One Stitch at a Time, Owner Handler’s Association, Pampered Paws, Pet Ag, Petography, Professional Handler’s Association, Take the Lead, the Creative Farm, The Hunting Horn, Tigger’s Dog Stuff, Virginia Perry Gardiner, Watch Works, William Secord.

A contender in the Bernese Mountain Dog breed competition (working dog group) gives his caretaker some love prior to the judging.

For more information, please visit theWestminsterweb site at:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Photos and text copyright 2011 M. D. Caprario

M. D. Caprario is a free lance journalist, writer and editor. Reach her at [email protected] .

David Rei, Director of Communications for Westminster, talks with the news media in preparation for the final night of the Show and the big finale "Best in Show" event.

Westminsteris a dog lover’s dream event, but even the uninitiated know "Sadie," the sweet black Scotty dog (or "CH. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot") that seemed to turn up everywhere in the media after winning the 2010 Best in Show event.

Hickory's handler, Angela Lloyd, talks with the press about their big win as the 2011 Westminster Best in Show.

This year’s winner was a female Scottish Deerhound, "Foxcliffe Hickory Wind," from the Hound variety group. Born on December 20, 2005, the dog is owned by Sally Sweatt, Cecilia L. Dove and Dr. R. Scott Dove ofMinneapolis,MN. The Scottish Deerhound breed was first shown atWestminsterin 1877, but one had not yet won Best in Show. "Foxcliffe Hickory Wind" begins a whirlwind NYC media tour the day following her win with appearances on several major morning television shows, a luncheon at Sardi’s and an appearance at the New York Stock Exchange.

Judge takes a final look at a breed group before choosing the Best of Breed

Finalist competitors included a Bearded Collie/Herding group (#6, "GCH Sunland’s Marie’s Antoinette"), a Portugese Water Dog/working group (#20 "GCH Aviators Luck Be a Lady"), a Black Cocker Spaniel/sporting group (#22 "GCH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction"), a Smooth Fox Terrier/Terrier group (#7 "Slyfox Sneak’s a Peek"), a Chinese Sharpei/Non-sporting group (#15, GCH Vayje’s Miss Jayne Hathaway"), and Pekingese/Toy group (#8 "Palacegarden Malachy"). Contenders provided stiff competition: the Fox Terrier has 54 prior Best in Show placements in other competitions, and it’s notable that insiders and media were touting the potential winner to be the Pekingese, calling it an "epic Pekingese," thus adding to the surprise value of the winning breed.

Handler Angela Lloyd and Best in Show Judge Paolo Dondina present Hickory to the press

This year’s Best in Show judge, Paola Dondina, hails fromMonterchi,Italy. He is the first Italian and the first person from outside ofNorth Americasince 1930 to judge this portion of the competition. Prior international judges hail from theUKandCanada. Although his first time judging atWestminster, Dondina began his career in 1969.

It’s worth noting that watching the Best in Show event- and the qualifiers leading up to it- feels a bit like watching the Super Bowl. The event is perpetually sold out, andMadisonSquareGardenhas that same mesmerizing atmosphere with bright lights and cheering crowd that one might find at any legendary sporting event.

Janice Wolfe, the "New Jersey Dog Whisperer" and founder of Merlin's Kids, snuggles her Rhodesian Ridgeback Wyatt. Wyatt is one of many beloved dogs that work with autistic children to keep them safe.

A narrator that evening might record something like this:

Without any hesitation, Judge Paolo Dondina approaches the table of officials and writes down his picks. These are officially recorded, and people are instantly in motion with long-tailed award ribbons.  Attendees all lean forward in their seats, straining to see which will be the luckiest dog. Finally, the judge addresses the crowd and pandemonium breaks out.

The Best in Show award goes to the Scottish Deerhound!The crowd leaps to its feet and the media scramble out of their press box seats to go chase after the handlers and get quotes in order to file before midnight. Later, the judge will tell us in a press conference that he has always wanted to own a deerhound.It's a landmark evening for everyone:  the handler won at Westminster as a junior handler many years ago, and this will be the dog's last show, so it can retire in the highest champion status it can attain.  Such an evening! Our beloved "Sadie" now has competition in the doggie spotlight- and the dog world has something else to talk about!

Show Chairman, Thomas H. Bradley III, welcomes media to the 135th Westminster Show and takes questions in the press room

The panel of judges for this year’s Show included Barbara Dempsey Alderman from Pennsylvania, Peter A. Baynes from South Carolina, Edd E. Bivin and Betty Regina Leininger from Texas, Lee Canalizo, Dorothy N. Collier, and Frank T. Sabella from Florida, W. Everett Dean, Jr., Rosalind Kraus Kramer, and Dr. and Mrs. Robert D. Smith from Virginia, Gary L. Doerge and Linda Pitts from Tennessee, Marsha Hall Brown, Michael J. Dougherty, Leonard S. Reppond, Robert Stein, and Burton J. Yamada from California, Paula and Rodger Hartinger from Ohio, Robert A. Indeglia from Rhode Island, Douglas A. Johnson from Indiana, H. Scott Kellogg from Maryland, Marjorie Martorella from New Jersey, Dennis McCoy from North Carolina, Kenneth M. McDermott from New York, Lynette J. Saltzman from Connecticut, Bob G. Smith from Louisiana, Cindy Vogels from Colorado, and James G. Reynolds from Ontario, Canada, Age Gjetnes and Espen Engh from Norway.

Visitors are welcomed to the "benching" area where all dogs can be seen- and, in many cases, ooh-ed and ah-ed over, photographed, and petted.

Competing dogs are benched throughout their showing day from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.- and what a delight that is for Show attendees. Being able to view the contenders before and after judging- and even pet them- is big fun for all ages.

A Bernese Mountain Dog readies for grooming prior to judging in the breed event

Exhibitors at the Show included the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the American Kennel Club, Amore dei cani, Angel on a Leash, the Animal Medical Center, the ASPCA, B.B. Unlimited, Inc., Bow Tie, B-Unique, Cherrybrook, Crate Covers and More, Dog News, Fine Art Collections, Grizzly Pet Product, Karen Lefrak, Les Pooch’s Fragrance, Mackenzie, Mar’s Pedigree/Snacks and Treats, Memories/One Stitch at a Time, Owner Handler’s Association, Pampered Paws, Pet Ag, Petography, Professional Handler’s Association, Take the Lead, the Creative Farm, The Hunting Horn, Tigger’s Dog Stuff, Virginia Perry Gardiner, Watch Works, William Secord.

A contender in the Bernese Mountain Dog breed competition (working dog group) gives his caretaker some love prior to the judging.

For more information, please visit theWestminsterweb site at:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Photos and text copyright 2011 M. D. Caprario

M. D. Caprario is a free lance journalist, writer and editor. Reach her at [email protected] .

 

 

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