Westminster Dog Show 2012

As the final night of judging drew to a close, Texas dogs had their own day at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York.
Suede, a Cavalier King Charles spaniels from North Texas, claimed one of the few prizes given out – an award of merit, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Her father, Presley, and Jackson, another King Charles, are coming back to the Lone Star State empty-pawed.
“I think Suede was a little overwhelmed with her win, all the people and the excitement” – Frankie Hall (the 59-year-old Argyle woman who owns the three dogs) tells the Star-Telegram. “Now it’s time for (Presley and Jackson) to retire and let Suede move on up.
“It’s very sad to retire them, but they’ll be home and they’ll just be our pets now.”

Westminster Dog Show 2012
Dog Show.

Malachy the Pekingese is just like Mitt Romney—only better groomed. He’s the presumptive favorite to win the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show tonight, but this is why we hold competitions. Because you just never know.
During the opening night of Westminster, Malachy – who has 114 Best in Show ribbons but has never won here – was named best in the Toy group, the most competitive category at Westminster, and the sports book at Wynn Las Vegas likes his odds this evening.
Other group winners from last night include the German shepherd Captain Crunch in the Herding group; Cinders, a Wire-Haired Dachshund, in the Hound group; and Spotlights Ruffian, a lovely Dalmatian, in Non-Sporting. And for those who like rooting underdogs, no Dachshund or Dalmatian has ever been named Best in Show at Westminster.
But there are more contenders to come tonight, including dogs from the Sporting, Working and Terrier groups. And it’s all leading up to Best in Show at the end of the evening, when judge Cindy Vogels will determine who will be America’s Dog for 2012.
So pull up your pet and let’s watch all the action…

There were 101 of them in the Disney movie, but not one has ever been “Best in Show” at the Westminster Kennel Club in New York.
Maybe this year.
A Dalmatian named Ian trotted to victory in the non-sporting group at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club show, making him one of seven finalists for the top prize to be awarded on national TV Tuesday night.
The Dalmatian is just one among dozens of breeds that have never won in 103 years of “Best in Show” titles at the event.
If there’s a conspiracy, it’s not just against fast runners who sport white coats with dark spots. Other breeds that have never won range from the wildly popular – Golden Retriever – to the exotic – Lhasa Apso. More to come on them later.
The history of the show is that some breeds and groups are highly favored over others, measured by their winning percentages. Terriers may not often be considered tall dogs, but they tower over the competition with some 45 victories over the years.
But this year, the Dalmatian was joined Monday night by another group winner who, if she wins, would also be posting a first for her breed. A Dachshund (wire-haired, in this case) named Cinders won top honors in the hound group.
Do those titles give these two dogs, together, a 2 in 7 likelihood of ending up as “Best in Show”? It’s more complicated than that. The show is decided by human judges, not a roll of the dice.
Judging by the show’s long history, it looks as if dogs from the non-sporting group (with a 10-win track record) and the hound group (with just 4 wins) have low odds.
But the more recent history is more mixed. In the past 20 years, fully half the shows have been won by breeds notching their first title. At the same time, historic patterns at the group level have largely held sway, with terriers and sporting dogs like the English Setter accounting for 13 titles in the past two decades.
The non-sporting, hound, and working groups have each won just two titles during that period. The toy group has one title during that time, and the herding group zero.
Nothing against the Fox Terrier, but can Border Collies get some respect one of these years?
One mold-breaking moment came in 2008, when the spirited Uno became the first Beagle to win the show. But questions about judging bias, or simply judging imperfection, have persisted.
“In the last 10 years or so, I’ve only seen an Akita win Best in Group once in both shows [Westminster and Eukanuba] combined” – wrote blogger and dog aficionado L. Lee Scott after an Akita was shunned to give Uno his 2008 win. “Does this mean that there are no Akitas that meet the breed standard? Hardly. What it means is that there are a lot of judges out there who don’t completely understand what it takes for an Akita to meet its breed standards.”

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