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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, February 09, 2009

Westminster Dog Show Cheatsheet Via Peggy

I had casually asked Peggy Gero DaValt, a noted dog show handler and breeder herself, to give Sundries readers a few tips ahead of tonight's 2009 Westminster Dog Show.

My word, but she outdid herself, and so by her leave (I hope!) here is her very impressive reply.

"Greetings, Victoria and Westminster KC fans!!

As an avid dog show exhibitor myself (and now for my shameless brag...a dog I co-own and handle...earned his 7th and 8th Best in Show awards in UKC competition this weekend!!....not bad for a 3+ year old male, Gordon Setter). [edit: Congrats!]

Okay...now for the nuts and bolts...

The Westminster KC is held annually in NYC the 2nd Monday/Tuesday of February. The show is open ONLY to champions of record. They limit the number of dogs that can enter to 2500 I believe.

In each breed, during the course of the year, statistics are kept at two levels - all-breed and breed. All-breed refers to the number of dogs you beat outside your breed. Breed competition refers to how many dogs you beat of your own breed. If your dog is ranked in the Top 5 of the breed, you will gain an automatic invite to Westminster, where you don't have to jump through hoops to get to make their lottery deadline.

With that said, today's competition featured breed judging of: Hound, Terrier, Non-Sporting and Herding and you can easily see all of the individual breed competition and results on this web site: Westminster Kennel Club. They stream video for each breed competition.

Tomorrow night will feature: Sporting, Working, Toy and Best in Show competition. I will be watching and cheering for the Gordon Setter winner in the Sporting Group. The #1 Gordon Setter, Nike, retired after the Gordon Setter National Specialty. Nike was not only the #1 Gordon Setter, but he was the #4 Sporting Breed dog.

For more information on the Top Dogs of 2008, you can check out the Canine Chronicle.

There are a lot of top dogs out there and a lot of my armchair quarterbacking will come after I see all the winners of the groups. There are often upsets in the Garden and a dog that may be a favorite may not even get out of breed. Even in hobby sports, politics abounds. And....as we all know, that little "extra" that a dog has pushes him/her to win that coveted Best in Show ribbon.

I have had the pleasure of attending Westminster in 1999 with Judy Browne who owned Kirby, the great Gordon Setter, Ch. Bit o' Gold Titan Treasure. Kirby repeated as the Group 1 winner of the Sporting Group in 1997, 1998 and 1999. This was only done previously by a Smooth Fox Terrier in 1906, 1907 and 1908.

One of my goals is to be able to show at the Garden. I am hopeful that next year or the year after, that River will get that automatic invite and then we will get him there...as it is very expensive endeavor....but one of those opportunities that can't be passed up!

The atmosphere at the Garden is exciting....and one that dog lovers everywhere should witness at least once in their lifetime. The first thing that I noticed was the green astroturf and how small the rings truly are.

I hope that you all enjoy the show tonight and tomorrow. I will be at my mom's house watching on cable with two Gordon Setter friends as we cheer everyone on in the Sporting Group!!

The list of esteemed judges are:

Sporting - Mr. Robert Ennis of Angola, NY
Hound - Mrs. Patricia V. Trotter of Carmel, CA
Working - Mrs. Paula Nykiel of Washington, MO
Terrier - Mr. Peter Green of Bowmansville, PA
Toy - Mr. Fred Bassett of Broken Arrow, OK
Non-Sporting - Mrs. Charlotte Patterson of Destin, FL
Herding - Mr. Robert Slay of Cary, NC

The Best in Show judge for 2009 is Sari Brewster Tietjen of Rhinebeck, NY.

This is a huge honor for judges to judge anything at this show. I believe that at some point in time I have shown to all but two of these judges.

Good luck everyone and enjoy!!

Hug your pooches -

Peggy :-)
"

Wow, thanks Miss Peggy! I know I'll be using this info tonight. I used never to miss a Cruft's dog show back in the day.

ADDED 10 February: Peggy kindly writes up another doozy of a followup.

Tonight the Sporting Group (my favorite) will take center stage at the Garden.

The setters will be well-represented. The English Setter is breeder-owner-handled and is a multiple Best in Show winning dog.

The Gordon Setter is a DUAL champion. That means that he has won his field trial championship as well as his show championship. He is birdy and pretty. He has a Best in Show title to his name. The handler of the English Setter put the Best in Show title on E.T.

In the setter world, we like to say that a well-balanced dog has a title on both ends.....

Champion goes on the front end and companion dog, junior, senior, master hunter goes at the end of the name....I think you get the picture.

The new setter breed making its debut is the Irish Red and White Setter. I personally know the first Irish R & W to finish its AKC championship belongs to a friend in Wisconsin!!

The Irish Setter winner is not one that I personally know, but huge congratulations to "her." The Best of Opposite belongs to a good friend of mine from MN who I do her website for. Dante graces the home page along with his grandfather, Hunter, who is the father of my Irish Setter.

I digress....there are pointers, retrievers and spaniels in the group as well. I love the Flat-Coated Retriever breed which is my "wish" breed.

Watch for those overall balanced dogs; the ones who can do what they were bred to do and that is to hunt and move.

I'm not 100% sure who will take the group, but watch for the English Setter to make a "cut" as well as the Irish Red & White since it's new to the group...

The Golden is always a crowd favorite......

On a more somber note, a long-time dog show handler and gentleman, Andrew Doyle, died from injuries he sustained at his home after returning home from a specialty. Mr. Doyle was a well-respected handler of sporting dogs and other dogs as well. He had shown Irish Setters and even made a video of how to groom an Irish for those of us who need help in that area. Mr. Doyle was not even 50.(9/30/61-02/09/09). May the shamrocks and heather fall softly for this man.

Enjoy the show tonight and may the best dog win!!


CORRECTED PORTION: Peggy adds a correction, plus she actually mentions the eventual winner. What talent!

The Irish Red & Whites cannot be shown this Westminster because, *duh* they weren't allowed to compete for championships until January 1, 2009....so everyone...consider that a glimpse into next year's Westminster sporting group.

And....that Sussex that won has lots of "power" behind him....having won the group 5 years ago and now comes back as a 10-year old veteran!! Amazing!!

ADDED: Meet this year's youngest Westminster dog show handler, 10-year-old Rachel Glenn. Amazing.

Labels: ,

20 Comments:

  • Wow...Victoria...thank you for the front and center treatment. I am very flattered that you liked my commentary. *blush*

    Enjoy the show tonight!!

    Peggy :)

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Mon Feb 09, 06:11:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Westminster judging always seems like Olympic pairs ice skating judging to me. There always seems to be some backroom dealing going on and the deal never goes to the dog I think is outstanding. Poodles, terriers and other rat-like dogs? *shudder*

    By Anonymous Starless, at Mon Feb 09, 06:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Wow...Victoria...thank you for the front and center treatment. I am very flattered that you liked my commentary. *blush*

    Aww, not at all, Peggy. It was a genuinely enlightening bit of writing, which if I had searched around for hours, I couldn't have given better insight into it.

    Besides, I have to pay it forward for the Instalanches. :)

    Enjoy the show tonight!!

    Hey, you too! I am more a Day 2 person, but I like to see the atmosphere on Day 1.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 09, 07:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Poodles, terriers and other rat-like dogs? *shudder*

    GASP! As a former poodle owner, I am aghast.

    I kinda agree about the Ice-skating judge comment, though. Lots of politics we'll never know about.

    But if someone kneecaps the Papillon, I'm looking up Jeff Gillooly.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 09, 07:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh crap. It's Mary Carillo. She ruins my tennis, now she's going to ruin my dogs...

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 09, 08:02:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I want to stay in Uno's hotel room, 213-A too!!!

    Okay, I'll behave now.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 09, 08:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • What a remarkable story of courage, that corporal who lost so much -- and yet gives back so much.

    I'm glad to see that the NY crowd are giving him, and the little girl, a complete standing ovation.

    There might be hope for us yet...

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 09, 08:52:00 pm GMT-5  

  • GASP! As a former poodle owner, I am aghast.

    Sorry about that. I just don't like poodle and poodle-like temperaments. I prefer the "sport" or hunting type dogs. Large retriever types. Dogs who you can punch and they turn and give you an "Is that all you've got?" look.

    I want to stay in Uno's hotel room, 213-A too!!!

    LOL. I heard about that too. Crazy dog people--almost as bad as crazy cat people.

    By Anonymous Starless, at Mon Feb 09, 10:32:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Armchair quarterbacking -

    I did not watch tonight. I understand that USA ONLY covered 1 hour and then CNBC took over....not sure why....but oh well.

    I heard from some watchers that for the Terrier group that was judged by Mr. Green, he excused the handler of the Airedale and the Cairn Terrier because those handlers had worked for him previously.

    I also heard that Mr. Green put up the Scotty for Group 1. The Sealyham Terrier was, I believe, the #1 dog in the US and had won everything EXCEPT the Garden (Westminster). As I said....lots of the top dogs get dumped.

    Enjoy the breeds tomorrow online and go all setters!!

    Peggy :)

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Mon Feb 09, 11:43:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Note about Poodles -

    Poodles come in 3 varieties - toy, miniature and standard.

    The Standard Poodle was and is a fine water retriever.

    Does anyone know that the way the dogs are clippered was more functional that "pretty." If you look at how the fur/coat is left, it covers all the vital organs so that when the dog is swimming.

    In UKC shows, standard poodles are in gundog class.

    Peggy :)

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Mon Feb 09, 11:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • The Standard Poodle was and is a fine water retriever.

    Point taken. Still, I have yet to meet a poodle I've liked or who has liked me.

    Does anyone know that the way the dogs are clippered was more functional that "pretty."

    I actually did know that. I never thought that cut was "pretty" so it made more sense to me when I heard about its function.

    I admit it--I have a horrible anti-poodle prejudice and I know that makes me a bad person. I am a dinosaur in the enlightened age of Nobama.

    And don't get me started on terriers...

    By Anonymous Starless, at Tue Feb 10, 12:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • Armchair Quarterback -

    Tonight the Sporting Group (my favorite) will take center stage at the Garden.

    The setters will be well-represented. The English Setter is breeder-owner-handled and is a multiple Best in Show winning dog.

    The Gordon Setter is a DUAL champion. That means that he has won his field trial championship as well as his show championship. He is birdy and pretty. He has a Best in Show title to his name. The handler of the English Setter put the Best in Show title on E.T.

    In the setter world, we like to say that a well-balanced dog has a title on both ends.....

    Champion goes on the front end and companion dog, junior, senior, master hunter goes at the end of the name....I think you get the picture.

    The new setter breed making its debut is the Irish Red and White Setter. I personally know the first Irish R & W to finish its AKC championship belongs to a friend in Wisconsin!!

    The Irish Setter winner is not one that I personally know, but huge congratulations to "her." The Best of Opposite belongs to a good friend of mine from MN who I do her website for. Dante graces the home page along with his grandfather, Hunter, who is the father of my Irish Setter.

    I digress....there are pointers, retrievers and spaniels in the group as well. I love the Flat-Coated Retriever breed which is my "wish" breed.

    Watch for those overall balanced dogs; the ones who can do what they were bred to do and that is to hunt and move.

    I'm not 100% sure who will take the group, but watch for the English Setter to make a "cut" as well as the Irish Red & White since it's new to the group...

    The Golden is always a crowd favorite......

    On a more somber note, a long-time dog show handler and gentleman, Andrew Doyle, died from injuries he sustained at his home after returning home from a specialty. Mr. Doyle was a well-respected handler of sporting dogs and other dogs as well. He had shown Irish Setters and even made a video of how to groom an Irish for those of us who need help in that area. Mr. Doyle was not even 50.(9/30/61-02/09/09). May the shamrocks and heather fall softly for this man.

    Enjoy the show tonight and may the best dog win!!

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Tue Feb 10, 06:05:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Darn it! I only just got home after having to leave during the meat of tonight's show. I think USA have a repeat immediately afterwards, though, so I'll catch that.

    I see the Sussex Spaniel won the Sporting group, Pegs. Ah well.

    Let me start watching. :)

    P.S.: And thanks for the Part 2 cheatsheet!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 10, 09:46:00 pm GMT-5  

  • And...yours truly is a little daft....

    The Irish Red & Whites cannot be shown this Westminster because, *duh* they weren't allowed to compete for championships until January 1, 2009....so everyone...consider that a glimpse into next year's Westminster sporting group.

    And....that Sussex that won has lots of "power" behind him....having won the group 5 years ago and now comes back as a 10-year old veteran!! Amazing!!

    The Toy Group was great and now onto the working group!!

    Thanks for updating the entry, Vic....and back to the show!!

    I'm not sure who will win...but the BIS judge is a Toy Breeder, I'm thinking Japanese Chins were/are her breed....so....maybe the Brussels? We'll see!!

    :-) Arf!!

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Tue Feb 10, 09:54:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Arf!

    I love that black poodle, and also the little Brussels griffon. I think it's between those two, given your insight, Peggy. :)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 10, 10:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Holy senior citizens, Batman! It's the lovely Sussex. :)

    That was a lot of fun -- and I think we saw some very special dogs this year, even to my untrained eye.

    I'll be looking forward to seeing the repeat, if USA get their act together (did you see them cut into the celebrations with Law & Order's blurb?).

    But for chrissakes, get rid of that masculine Mary Carillo creature. She constantly had a David Letterman "Uma-Oprah" moment with "STUMP". Jaysus.

    Can't wait to hear your closing thoughts, guys, Peggy!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Feb 10, 11:03:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Peggy, Blogs.com picked up this blogpost, highlighting your comment about politics abounding!

    Congrats. Now you're even with Ruth Anne, who got a mention from Rose Schlossberg. :P

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Feb 11, 01:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • But for chrissakes, get rid of that masculine Mary Carillo creature.

    I agree with that completely. Its not just the masculinity, it's the stupidity. I was only able to get partway through the sporting group then I just couldn't take listening to her anymore.

    By Anonymous Starless, at Wed Feb 11, 08:10:00 am GMT-5  

  • To Vic and all her follwers at Sundries....I'm both humbled and proud to have provided some armchair quarterbacking during this wonderful Super Bowl Week of Dog Shows, a/k/a Westminster Kennel Club.

    As I have mentioned, this is such a huge show; the prestige of going to the show, the prestige of being invited to participate to judge and the entire ambiance that grips the dog show world as well as those of you watching in.

    Here at home, two of my close friends and I tuned in at my mom's house to watch the final night of groups and the eventual selection of the winner!!

    As you all probably know, the winner was a 10-year old veteran, Sussex Spaniel, fondly known as "Stump" who was won the tough Sporting Group, handled by Scott Sommer of Houston, TX. Mr. Sommer is a well respected handler and you just recently saw him in the Best in Show ring with JR a Bichon Frise that he guided to this top spot in 2001.

    From this USA Today article about retired Westminster BIS Winners:

    J.R.: Age hasn't slowed him down

    J.R. is a precocious, pampered pooch.

    "He's my pet," says Scott Sommer, J.R.'s handler, who lives in Houston. "He lives in my house. He sleeps in my bed every night."

    When J.R. was a show dog, Sommer had a much tighter rein. J.R. was only allowed in one area of the house and his diet was restricted.

    These days, J.R. has become a chowhound.

    "When it's mealtime, he runs all around the kitchen," Sommer says. "He's a foodaholic. He'd eat and eat and eat if I allowed him to."

    When he's not busy living a dog's life, J.R. has a full social calendar. He has worked as a therapy dog with his most memorable experience being at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women in Orlando. He also has helped raise money for charities such as the Canine Health Foundation.

    "Winning Westminster didn't change his life," Sommer says. "He's always been the center of attention. He was the only puppy in the litter, so he was spoiled from day one."

    J.R. still turns heads.

    "I show other bichons, but they aren't anywhere as recognizable as J.R," Sommer says. "He's so famous because when he won Westminster, he clapped his paws. He always moves his front legs when he's happy. "

    ***

    J.R.

    Champion Special Times Just Right!

    Bichon frise

    Best in Show at Westminster: 2001.

    Career AKC record: 101 All-Breed Best in Show wins.

    Age: 6.

    Home: Houston.

    Favorite treat: Any kind of food. "If you eat it, it's fine with him," says Scott Sommer, J.R.'s handler and co-owner.

    Favorite toy: A stuffed rooster that goes cock-a-doodle-doo. "And anything else of mine that happens to be on the floor," Sommer says. "He loves to take the tassels off my shoes."

    Favorite place to sleep: On the bed.

    Favorite tricks: Waving to his fans.

    Naughtiest episode: Chewing up Sommer's wallet, including all of his credit cards and several $100 bills. "He got even with me for having left him in the hotel room while I went to dinner," Sommer says.

    Times bred since winning Westminster: 17 times.

    Number of champions sired: More than 20. Top Bichon Frise sire for 2002 and 2003.

    Biggest claims to fame: Member of the Century Club (attained 100 or more Best in Show wins). Did all his major winning in 14 months.

    So...as you can see, Mr. Sommer is not a stranger to the Best in Show ring, nor the sport of dog showing. My comment about the "power" behind the dog refers to this handler.

    Mrs. Brewster Tietjen, as I noted was a Toy breeder, having bred Japanese Chin. She also judges the sporting group and my feeling at the time when she made her final look was that she was going to mark the judges' book for the Brussels Griffon as I thought she smiled.

    But...she smiled as she noted Stump there, as well, as he was in front of the Brussels.

    It is very difficult to judge these dogs as they are all high quality and high caliber dogs. What a incredible line up she had to evaluate.

    She went to work and with her skillful approach and eye to the dogs before her, she did her job as we all watched.

    Having been a student of this sport, they all "look" wonderful, but until you get your hands on their bodies, you cannot tell how truly beautiful and in shape they are until you "touch" them. Mrs. Tietjen knows the standards for each breed and knows how to judge them against that standard.

    Stump had that "extra" - a top handler in Mr. Sommer, a veteran dog (at 7 most breeds consider their dogs veterans), and that "look at me" attitude. His wagging, stubby tail was saying, "pick me."

    And...she did. And Westminster history was made.

    "Stump" now gets to run the circuit of all the TV Morning Shows, before returning to his retirement.

    I'm so happy that another Sporting Dog took the top dog honors. Congratulations to everyone associated with this lovely boy!!

    And...for those of you who are curious, Stump can now be added to the list of Best in Show winners at the Garden.

    And...until next year....the Garden is history......

    Hug your dogs...and may all your Best in Show dreams come true!!

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Wed Feb 11, 08:42:00 am GMT-5  

  • I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Margaret

    http://lotterymegamillions.net

    By Blogger Abagale, at Wed Sep 16, 12:41:00 am GMT-4  

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