The 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: What’s New This Year?

The 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: What’s New This Year?

A prize-winning Beagle at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.A prize-winning Beagle at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
A prize-winning Beagle at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.A prize-winning Beagle at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Table of Contents:

  1. New Location
  2. New Guidelines
  3. New Breeds
  4. How to Watch the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Though life in many US states has reached a state of relative normalcy, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that this year’s iteration of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will look much different from the previous 144. For one, the event will take place outside of Manhattan for the first time in its history!

New Location

Throughout its nearly 150 years, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has hosted four-legged competitors in a range of New York City locales. In its early days, the event took place in Gilmore’s Garden. That outdoor arena stood in the same place where more recent Westminster finals have occurred, Madison Square Garden. This year, the festivities are moving out to Lyndhurst Mansion in nearby Tarrytown, New York. The estate’s picturesque grounds have a history with dog shows, hosting them for many decades in the early 20th century.

Gail Miller Bisher, the Westminster Kennel Club’s Director of Communications, assures dog fanatics that the nation’s preeminent canine competition will return to the Big Apple next year.

New Guidelines

Like last year’s National Dog Show, Westminster will commence without spectators or vendors in attendance to comply with COVID-19 prevention protocols. Fortunately, at-home spectators can tune into more of the action than ever before. Every round of the competition will air on television or via online livestreams.

Under normal circumstances, Westminster is one of the nation’s few benched dog shows. Bench show rules hold that all competitors must remain on display for spectators in a specific location unless they’re out in the competition ring. With no spectators to make the rounds, this year’s competition will not feature show benches.

New Breeds

Pandemic protocols aren’t the only changes coming to the American canine community’s biggest day. Four newly AKC-recognized breeds will trot around the ring as competitors for the first time. Say hello to the four breeds who’ll be making their Westminster debut in Tarrytown this weekend.

Barbet

A French water dog with a lineage dating back to the 16th century, the Barbet has a bright disposition and a loyal devotion to family members. The breed will compete at Westminster as a member of the Sporting Group.

Belgian Laekenois

Of the four breeds hailing from Belgium, the Laekenois (pronounced “lak-in-wah”) is the rarest. Like its “countrydogs” the Belgian Malinois and Turvuren, they were developed to herd sheep and they’ll compete against both breeds in the Herding Group.

Biewer Terrier

Elegant, tri-colored Biewer Terriers make an amusing addition to the Toy Group. These pups are characterized by an almost childlike sense of wonder and a whimsical attitude. By the way, it’s pronounced “beaver.”

Dogo Argentino

Bred in the Cordoba province, the muscular, imposing Dogo Argentino hunted dangerous game including boar and big cats in its native Argentina. The breed was first brought to the United States in 1970.

How to Watch the 145th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Tune in to watch more than 2,000 furry champions compete for the title of Best in Show. All times are Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, June 11

Masters Agility Competition, Preliminary Rounds

8:00AM – 4:00PM (Streaming on the Westminster Kennel Club’s website)

Saturday, June 12

Masters Agility Competition, Finals

5:00PM – 7:00PM (Airing on FOX and streaming on the FOX NOW and Fox Sports apps)

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Conformation, Best of Breed Judging

9:00AM – 4:30PM (Streaming on the Westminster Kennel Club’s website)

1:00PM – 4:00PM (Select coverage airing on FS2 and streaming on the FOX NOW and Fox Sports apps)

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Conformation, Best of Group Judging

7:30PM – 11:00PM (Airing on FOX and streaming on the FOX NOW and FOX Sports apps)

Sunday, June 13

Masters Obedience Competition, Championship

9:00AM – 4:30PM (Streaming on the Westminster Kennel Club’s website)

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Conformation, Best of Breed Judging

1:30PM – 4:00PM (Airing on FS2 and steaming on the FOX NOW and Fox Sports apps)

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Conformation, Best of Group and Best in Show Judging

7:30PM – 11:00PM (Airing on FOX and streaming on the FOX NOW and Fox Sports apps).

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