2014 Westminster Kennel Club dog show: Best In Show preview

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2014
Who will take the Best in Show trophy at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2014? Photo: Lisa Croft Elliott via WKC Facebook

SAN DIEGO, February 10, 2014 –  Fierce competitors will be doing their best to impress the judges as they claw their way to the top Monday and Tuesday. But if they win, they’d prefer a tasty treat or squeaky toy to a gold medal.

More than 2,800 dogs will compete for the title of Best in Show at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City February 10 and 11. Each dog will first compete to win its breed category. The breed winners then compete head to head in group competition, and the seven group winners will via on Tuesday night to become America’s Top Dog as Best in Show.

The Westminster website will show live streaming video of each individual breed competition, judging results and photos all day Monday and Tuesday. There is also a free iPhone and Android app available to let you follow the show on your mobile device.

Group competition will be broadcast live, with the first four groups show Monday on CNBC. Tuesday night the remaining groups will air on USA Network, followed by Best In Show. Hours both nights are 8 to 11 p.m. ET/5 to 8 p.m. PT; the competition will repeat from 8 to 11 p.m. PT.  This is the only dog show in the world broadcast live.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2014
Will Swagger take it all at the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Photo: Steve Surfman via WKC Facebook

The hound, toy, nonsporting and herding groups compete Monday; the sporting, working and terrier groups compete Tuesday, followed by Best In Show.

Several group winners from 2013 are back for another try at Best In Show. One of the crowd favorites is two year old GCH CH Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, “Swagger” the Old English Sheepdog who entered last year as a “class” dog, allowed to enter after winning a major competition despite not yet earning his Champion status. He won Reserve Best In Show, coming in second only to the winner, the Affenpincher “Banana Joe.”

Swagger has won several major competitions and comes in as the number one Herding Dog and number one dog overall in the United States.  Expect Swagger to be challenged by the German Shepherd Dog GCH CH Wolf Creek’s Galaxy of Merivern. “Galaxy” has beaten Swagger before.

Terriers have an outstanding record at Westminster, with more Best In Show wins than any other group. Back for a third run at the title is Smooth Fox Terrier “Sky,” GCH CH AfterAll Painting the Sky. She is memorable for her unusual half-black, half-white face. Sky was the number one dog last year and the winner of the Eukanuba championship in 2012.

Also back hoping three times at Westminster is the charm is Standard Poodle “Ally,” GCH CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore in the Non-Sporting Group. Her breed competition may be a bigger challenge than winning the group. If Ally gets to the group, it’s hers to lose.

Several hound breeds are expected to be competitive, including returning 2013 Hound Group winner GCH Exlysta Aries Ciel Noir, a six year old Afghan Hound. He will be also be challenged just to win his breed to get in the Group ring, where is will likely face off with the Harrier “Chet,” GCH CH Downhome Hitech Innovator, who was the number two Hound in the nation with 15 Best in Show wins in 2013.

The flashy Irish Water Spaniel “Riley,” GCH CH Whistlestop’s Riley On Fire, is the top-winning Irish water spaniel ever and also won the Sporting Group at the Eukanuba Championship in December. Riley may face a sentimental favorite, black Cocker Spaniel “Beckham,” GCH CH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction. Beckham hasn’t had the best luck at Westminster. He was second to Riley at the Eukanuba show in December.

Matisse the Portuguese Water is considered a favorite to win Best in Show at Westminster 2014.
Matisse the Portuguese Water is considered a favorite to win Best in Show at Westminster 2014. Photo: Jack Grassa via WKC Facebook

Dog show fans in the White House will be cheering for Portuguese Water Dog “Matisse,” GCH CH Claircreek’s Impression de Matisse, to win the Working Group.  Matisse will be challenged by Doberman Pincher Ch Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici, called “The Fifinator” or “Fifi.” Fifi has 363,873 fans on her Facebook page and is a crowd pleasing favorite with a long history of wins including winning the Working Group at Westminster in 2012.

In the Toy Group, Miniature Pinscher GCH CH Marlex Classic Red Glare or “Classie” is the top-winning miniature pinscher in breed history and is the odds-on favorite to take the group win.

There are three new breeds in the 2014 competition: Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (Hound Group), the Chinook (Working Group) and the rat terrier (Terrier Group). A newly introduced breed has never won Best in Show at Westminster.

It’s true that any of the 2,800 dogs entered in the show have a chance to win. Wynn Las Vegas posts betting odds by breed on Westminster. The Portuguese water dog has 8-to-1 odds as the favorite to win Best in Show. A wire fox terrier is 10-to-1, an old English sheepdog is 12-to-1; an Irish water spaniel is 14-to-1 and a Doberman pinscher is 15-to-1.

Which dog will you root for? Most of us have an affinity for a particular breed that we have owned and loved, perhaps a beloved childhood companion, a devoted playmate for your children or a dog that works at your side every day. But even if you own a mixed breed or a rescue of unknown origin, it’s fun to pick a favorite and root them on with your own canine at your side. At The House of Boxer where I live, we aren’t neutral. We will BOL (Bark Out Loud) if a Boxer manages to win the Working Group or even Best of Show.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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