Day two of the annual Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) show kicks off at Madison Square Garden today in New York City, as a major announcement has been made by dog show officials. The Westminster Kennel Club has been held at Madison Square Garden in all but a few years of its existence. The WKC held their first dog show in Manhattan in 1877 and is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.
In 2013, the location of breed judging and benching will change, marking the first time in the dog show’s history that these elements will not be held at Madison Square Garden. Piers 92/94 in New York City, located at West 55th Street and the West Side Highway, will be home to the judging and benching portions. Group and Best in Show judging along with the Junior Showmanship Finals will still be held at Madison Square Garden in the evening.
A renovation project at Madison Square Garden over the past two years has reduced the amount of available benching space during Westminster. Moving to the Piers for the daytime judging portion will increase the space, allow for more entries, and still allow visitors and spectators to visit the benching area, ask questions, and meet owners, handlers, and breeds up close.
For 2012, entries in the dog show totaled 2,000, but with the move to the Piers the entry limit will be increased to 3,000 in 2013. Entries will also include competition in the classes for dogs that have not yet earned championships but have won major points. Best of Breed winners of the National Breed Club specialties will be invited to pre-enter. Top five dogs in each breed point standings will still be allowed to pre-enter, as they have in the past.
For more information about the Westminster Kennel Club show, visit www.westminsterkennelclub.org.