How To Win the Westminster Dog Show
Step 1: Find a poodle. Step 2: Get a big-money backer.
By Josh Dean, Slate
Posted Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, at 7:15 AM ET
I had a theory that people backed dogs for the same reason they owned racehorses-for the luster this association provides. Scott says that’s not the case. And he would know. He also owns racehorses. “Racehorses are much less personal, for one thing,” he said, and I think he means that you can’t cuddle up on the couch with a Thoroughbred. “The second thing is, racehorses make money. You do not make money by showing dogs. It’s nothing about making money. It’s all about spending money. You do it for other reasons.”
All told, Scott says the range of campaigning a dog over a year varies: “You’re dealing with $100,000 to half a million.” Some people, of course, campaign multiple dogs.
Once you have a conversation with Ron Scott, you start to wonder if a regular person, with a great dog, could ever have a chance at competing for show wins. Hastings, the handler and trainer who knows as much about dog shows as any human, could recall just a few recent dogs that did well despite lacking a wealthy backer. She remembered a Yorkie, owned by a family that wasn’t rich, and shown by their daughter, that won Westminster.
I looked it up. That was in 1978, when Higgins became the first and still only Yorkie to win at Madison Square Garden. Handled by Marlene Lutovsky, Higgins’s care was indeed a family affair. Marlene’s mother Barbara reported that she was the one who got up every morning at 5 a.m. “to clean his teeth, brush and oil his coat, change the wrappers and give him clean booties.”
If you have someone like Ron Scott behind you, it means that you don’t have to rise before dawn, let alone brush your dog’s teeth. But more important than that, having a backer allows potential champions to be trained by the best professional handlers and to be advertised in all the major show dog magazines-week in and week out, for however long it takes.
He also has an arrangement with a Japanese puppy mill to get his mutts free for a year or three to train and show AND they also kick in hundreds of pages of advertising. No kidding, read the piece.
Kinda sucks the charm right out of it eh? Just like Formula One.
In more news-
Tired of Sad Ads, Kennel Show Takes ‘Dog With a Smile’ Tack
By SARAH MASLIN NIR, The New York Times
Published: February 11, 2012
Prancing purebreds and pound puppies do not mix, or at least they will not during the televised broadcasts of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year, after the club cut ties with Pedigree, a longtime sponsor, in part because of Pedigree’s commercials featuring sad-eyed mutts up for adoption.
“We want people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives,” said David Frei, the club’s director of communications and the host of the show for over two decades. The Pedigree advertisements, showing quaking and abused homeless pets, are in stark contrast to the coddled and cosseted animals that strut around Madison Square Garden during the two-day show, which begins on Monday.
“Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me,” Mr. Frei told The A.P. The kennel club had expressed its concerns to Pedigree, he said, adding, “We told them that, and they ignored us.”
Some Sites with a less scrooge-like attitude-
I have mixed feelings. I kinda miss visiting my doggie friend who has the best behaved medium size dog I’ve had the pleasure to meet, but he is enthusiastic and playful and easily distracted. I like dogs for the most part because they’re loyal and dependable and easily trained once you understand them.
I’m too undiscipled be a good trainer, besides I’m very indulgent.
Unconditional love comes with high maintainance though. They don’t amuse themselves very well and pine for you when you’re away. Cats do the same but are more subtle about it. They’re there to train their people.
For me watching Westminster is annual tradition going back to my misspent youth when my brewing buddy and I would call up the cable company starting weeks before in a dedicated campaign to harass them into carring it. Worked a couple of times.
Tonight I don’t have good results on finding a streaming site. There is a live Canadian feed because of tape delay on Animal Planet (from here and here). Good luck with that, couldn’t begin to tell you how to construct a proxy for it. On Cable coverage is split between USA 8 – 9 (bumped for Monday Night RAW) and CNBC 9 – 11. CNBC will rebroadcast it in its entirety from midnight to 2 am, USA from 8 – 11 am tomorrow.
I haven’t found a current list of all the contenders either and sometimes I don’t get the names of each dog. I think I remember that they take each breed alphabetically in the list and that’s how the pretty tables below are arranged.
Puppy pictures are encouraged, directions here.