New Pups on the Block
Shocking changes to the Westminster Dog Show have tongues, not tails, wagging
Of-the-moment indicators of changing trends aren't limited to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Travel about 30 blocks south, and you'll see signs of the times inside Madison Square Garden, where the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show runs though Tuesday night.
What makes this year unique is a new diversity among the competing breeds. In all, six new breeds are making their debut: Icelandic sheepdogs, redbone coonhounds, Leonbergers, Boykin spaniels, cane corso and bluetick coonhounds. Also new this year is the Xoloitzcuintli, which was compared in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times to a "hot water bottle with pig eyes, bat ears and a rat tail." The Xolo is the most recent member of the 170 recognized purebreds appearing on the roster of the American Kennel Club.
Recognize a few of your favorites in that list? Probably not, as none of them have made it to the final round. Bloomberg reports that in the final circle is a "regal" three-year-old Pekingese, a Scottish deerhound, a Chinese Shar-Pei and bearded collie with an affinity for standing on its hind legs and doling out hugs. These four champion purebreds will compete with the winners of the sporting group, which counts Golden Retrievers, working dogs such as Akitas, and terriers among its ranks.
Yet the lingering question remains: In this maze of rare breeds, cutthroat competition and utter cuteness, where does the wolf puppy stand?
In its first day, the show was a magnet for B-list celebrities, such as Austin's own seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong with his twin 9-year-old daughters and Jane Hammett-Bright, who almost reached the final episode of last season's Survivor: Nicaragua. At 10 p.m. Tuesday evening, the Best in Show will be announced by top judge Paolo Dondina.
We wait with bated doggy breath.