Established in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a celebration of the wonderful canine spirit, reflecting our emotional and spiritual attachment to our dogs. From the opening moments when the more than 2,500 champions begin to compete in 162 different breed and variety rings to the final crowning of the Best In Show dog, it is the great sport of dogs at its very best.
To be recognized for full privileges and to be eligible for Westminster, all breeds basically need three things: a certain population of the dogs, a geographic distribution around the country, and a parent club to promote and protect the best interests of the breed in this country. Four new breeds will make their Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show debut in the 2008 competition. David Frei, the USA Network commentator for the show, introduces two of the four breeds making their Westminster debut.
Tibetan Mastiff: Working Group
Call name: Big G
Registered name: Ch Kesang Camp's Despa of Shambhala
Owner: Efrain Torres and Susan Abrams
A 27-month-old guard dog, Big G has won 82 Best of Breeds, is ranked the No. 7 Tibetan Mastiff and the No. 9 dog of all breeds in the United States, and loves to kiss the judges. The earliest accounts of Tibetan Mastiffs are from 1100 B.C. in China. Used primarily as family or property guardians, they are an independent, strong-willed, territorial, and extremely stubborn breed. Although aloof toward strangers, the Tibetan Mastiff is devoted and protective of family. They require brushing a few times a week, and male members of the breed can go four or five days without eating.
Swedish Vallhund: Herding Group
Call name: Moose
Registered name: Ch Jonricker Moustaffa
Owner: Kerstin Ottmar
A cattle herder and farm dog, 12-year-old Moose is the oldest dog competing at Westminster this year. A therapy dog, Moose detected the oncoming stroke of his owner's mother, who is the first Swedish Vallhund breeder in North America. It's believed that Swedish Valhunds date back to the days of the Vikings, where they were used primarily as an all-around farm dog, herding cattle, controlling vermin, and acting as a watchdog. Watchful, energetic, fearless, alert, intelligent, friendly, eager to please, and active, they are devoted to family and friendly to strangers.
Beauceron (Not Seen on the Show)
The Beauceron breed originated in the plains area near Paris, called La Beauce. Used as herding farm dogs and family guardians, they were employed by the French army as messenger dogs during World War I and World War II. Beaucerons follow directions, are courteous, calm, and eager to please family. They are, however, wary of strangers, and do not take well to other dogs. This breed also requires brushing once a week.
Plott (Not Seen on the Show)
Originally brought from Germany to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Plott is known for trailing and hunting animals. An eager-to-please, loyal, courageous, headstrong, and independent breed, Plotts are wary of strangers, but warm up easily.
More information on the Westminster Dog Show can be found on the Westminster Kennel Club or USA Network web sites.
Special thanks to Westminster Kennel Club dog show host David Frei for sharing this information.