Dog Shows

Who Were The Big Losers At The Westminster Dog Show

by Harlan Kilstein, Dogington Top Dog

All of the attention is focused on Malachy the Pekingese who won best in show at the Westminster dog show as well as all the other
winners.

But this article is all about the various losers at the show and how losing affects all of us.

Let’s start by acknowledging that for the nearly 48 hours that the Westminster Kennel Club show takes place, dogs command peoples’ attention.

With the generous coverage of USA Network, once a year people take time out to focus on dogs.

And while it seems that everyone loves dogs, the Westminster club continues its blue-blood traditions of ignoring all but the elite pure bred dogs.

The largest “breed” in the United States are mixed breeds and they are noticeably missing from the show.

Every year, Westminster is proud to add more breeds to the show but apparently, mutts are not worth consideration or attention.

A mutt may be the most loving, heroic, supportive, and kindest dog around but when it comes to Westminster, it might as well not exist at all.

Who would be harmed if a division was created for mixed-breeds?  Banish the thought from your mind.  The Martha Stewarts don’t want to hear about mixed breeds unless it’s to sell them one of her dog products.

Another loser were dogs for adoption.  This year Westminster decided to replace Pedigree with Purina as a sponsor.  The reason publicly given was that Pedigree’s commercials moved people emotionally to adopt dogs.  The sad dog faces got people to take action and save pets from destruction. Plus Pedigree has donated 7 million dollars since 2006 to animal shelters.

But Westminster didn’t want sad dogs about to die.  It wanted happy dogs in their commercials and Purina was happy to comply.

Westminster dog show host David Frei pulled no punches: “Our show is a celebration of dogs. We’re not promoting purebreds at the expense of non-purebreds. We celebrate all dogs,” he said. “When we’re seeing puppies behind bars, it takes away from that. Not just because it’s sad, but it’s not our message.”

It makes you wonder if Frei even believes the double-speak that came out of his mouth. If you noticed any celebration of “non-purebreds,” you must have eagle eyes because I didn’t see any of it.

And lastly, the real losers were dog lovers all over the world.  This was the year’s biggest opportunity to celebrate mankind’s love for his best and most loyal friend.  But, to paraphrase Orwell, some dogs are more equal than others.

Mixed breed owners can only dream that one day their loved children will be accepted at Westminster.  But for now, racial purity – excuse me – breed purity – continues at the show.

 

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Darlene Martinez

    Mar 4, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Most of you who stand behind the Westminster Dog Show probably don’t know what really goes on with these dogs…First they spend so much time in crates, the other time they have is getting prepared for the show, which means washing, combing, and some even have curlers, but the worst part of it all, is the Debarking and Declawing. Such inhumane treatment to these dogs just so they can be judged mainly how they look. A beauty pageant for dogs and a bunch of snobs promoting it. I have one purebred pug, and one mutt and both of them are too loved, too special, to ever be involved in such a show. So go on and keep promoting such inhumane treatment. As for me I would rather adopt a mutt, mixed breed etc

    • Robert Thieme

      Jul 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Well Darlene
      I showed American cocker spaniels. The cockers I showed loved being groomed. They also LOVE the show ring. Show dogs get way more attention than your average house pet that is thrown out in the back yard all day and maybe gets walked daily. Not all but a lot of house pets. Have you ever had a show dog if you had you would realise all the work and time
      involved . Believe me they are very well loved stable pets.

  2. Sam Hillary

    Sep 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Whoever wrote this article is not familiar with dog shows. First off, Westminster is a very prestigious dog show that you have to be invited to. Only the top Champion dogs in each breed are invited. Breeds are judged on their breed’s standards. How can you judge a mutt that has no breed standards? These shows are not just a beauty contest. They help set the standard for quality breeding programs. People who own and breed these champion dogs have some the highest quality breeding programs and will not breed unhealthy sick dogs. In other words these shows are the anti back yard breeder or puppy mill promoters. The dogs and bitches in confirmation shows are not neutered or spaded because the show is based on breeding. If they were to show mutts that would mean they would be breeding them. It makes no sense. This whole article makes no sense. Also most of the people that breed these show dogs belong to AKC breed clubs. These breed clubs work hard at rescuing and rehoming their specific breed. Most breeders have in their contracts that if a family no longer wants the dog they are to bring it back to the breeder so it can be properly rehomed.

    Please don’t think for one second that Westminster or any “Dog Show people” are a bunch of snobs. They are full of some of the most down to earth, animal friendly people you will meet. Their goal is to maintain the integrity of each breed. You have to respect each breed for what they bring to this world historically. Each breed can tell you so much about the country they are from.

    Other than Westminster, dog shows have rally and obedience shows mutts can enter these shows.

  3. Food Fan Frank

    Feb 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    The AKC has always celebrated purebred dogs. I have nothing against mixed breed dogs, and they make just as wonderful pets as their purebred ancestors. However, I agree that the AKC doesn’t stand for mixed breed dogs. They never have. If irresponsible breeders didn’t keep producing the “designer” mixed breed puppies there would be a lot less puppy mills and animals in shelters. Just my opinion.

  4. Monica Kelly

    Feb 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    The Conformation show is a show for the cookie-cutter-cut out of a particular breed of dog that will probably be used for breeding (after it passes all its health screenings) hince the competition is the other dog in the breed. They are dueling it out for the spot to be bred. Mixed breeds usually are spayed and neutered, so checking for testicles is sort of ruled out here Besides the Heinz27 dog is an ORIGINAL, a much loved family member and SHOULD NOT be replicated!

    With breeds you have the ability if you want a particular color and trait to choose the breed of your choice, and that is an awesome choice to have.

    But a mixed breed comes with its very own mix of traits and usually a brain to match–if the owner wishes to train and give these dogs challenges.

    AKC has graciously allowed mixed breeds in their own AKC registration so that they can compete with their owners for working titles in Obedience, Agility, Flyball, Herding to name a few, are you game to compete?? What a wonderful venue for a mixed breed as they are usually so very smart and to see them get to win titles this way is an awesome experience to watch!

    Monica Kelly
    Happy owner and competitor of Purebred and a Mixed breed

  5. Gwplady

    Feb 16, 2012 at 3:11 am

    There are no winners in this debate. If pet owners, both purebred and mix breed, do not find a way to get along and fight for the right to own their pets we may all loss our right to have our best 4 footed friends. This childish bickering is exactly what PETA and HSUS want to divide and conquer us so that we can not own, enjoy, breed our beloved pets. There will be no dog events for any dogs, purebred or mixed if people do not see the tactics being used against us and the legislation that is getting pushed through in local communities, state, and federal government levels.
    Grow up people and see what is happening around you. There are plenty of events for all pets if one wants to avail themselves of them.
    I have purebred dogs, rescues, and mixed breeds, I love them all. All dogs are pets first and everything else is secondary.

  6. freddiesmom

    Feb 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

    What a load of PC crap. Please, do your homework. The purpose of dog shows is to evaluate breeding stock. How would the mixed breed dog contribute to that? I’m so tired of whining, and the new fad of “rescuing” a dog and bashing breeders. Those of us that breed spend countless hours researching pedigrees, keeping health clearances current, studying and researching pedigrees, and for what to be bashed like this? I have nothing against people that prefer a mixed breed dog obtaining one, why can’t they reciprocate and leave those of us that prefer a purebred dog alone? Each breed was bred for a specific purpose, I don’t believe there were any losers last night, they were all winners in their owners eyes. It’s a shame you can’t see that!!!!

  7. HangDog

    Feb 16, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Dummy! It is a sport! Dog shows are about sporting competition – these dogs are shown all year long to earn either an invitation to compete at Westminster by being one of five top winning dogs, or to earn a championship which qualifies you to try and get an entry accepted by WKC.

    By all means, why don’t you organize a parent club for mutts, get them admitted to competitive classes at dog shows, and then spend the 40-50K required to travel around the country all year long going to 4 or 5 shows a week … do that with a “registered” mutt, and in all liklihood you too can enter and compete at Westminster.

    I am so tired of the ignorance and bigotry that produces this kind of attitude from elitist anti-achievement people. Everyone loves their dogs – everyone loves mutts – so why doesn’t someone just love them enough to make them competitive in dog show classes and start showing them … do you love that mutt enough to live, eat and die training, traveling and spending 24/7 to make him eligible to show at WKC … they have 2,000 available slots for entries each year and they fill in minutes … do you think you can manage that?

  8. Double R

    Feb 16, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Westminster is the second oldest sporting event in the US. it is for purebred dogs. Why is that so hard to get? once a year the purebred dog gets to be in the limelight here and your whining about it? I was happy to see pedigree go, this is a show for purebred dogs, why cant they just once have advertising marketed at the purebred dog owner? And just in case nobody noticed, Paws and Pilots had lots of spots talking about the rescue flights they do. Was a nice commercial if you ask me.
    If the purebred can not even have their 6 hours a year without being labeled as mutt haters… lets do this, all day on Animal planet when the animal cops shows are on, during the raids on the hoarders and abusers, lets run ads for purebreds and showing them at Westminster. We could even direct viewers to the AKC website to find an ethical breeder ok? fair trade, mutts in shelters during westminster, Purebreds promoted during all the spca and rescue shows. problem solved.

  9. JG

    Feb 16, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I’ve had mixed breeds and loved them. I have purebreds and love them. I’ll have both again when I retire. My purebreds don’t qualify for Westminster because I don’t show enough to get a high ranking. My choice. I also do obedience, agility, and other events with my dogs, and mixed breeds are allowed in all those AKC events. Guess what? There are not any of those events at Westminster so my dogs can’t compete there in those events, either.

    I’d love to play NBA basketball and get a salary like that, but I’m not whining about it. They probably don’t need a 5’1″ white woman. That’s life. It doesn’t make me a loser.

    • Sue Ann

      Feb 16, 2012 at 2:47 am

      “I’d love to play NBA basketball and get a salary like that, but I’m not whining about it. They probably don’t need a 5’1″ white woman. That’s life. It doesn’t make me a loser.”

      BEST comment of the day, thank you!!!

      The losers, as far as I’m concerned, are those that can’t (won’t?) see beyond the emotional rhetoric they take from the animal rights’ ‘better dead than bred’ playbook. As has been mentioned, there are plenty of opportunities for folks to show off their mutts. But they can no more enter those mutts at the AKC-sanctioned Westminster Dog Show than enter their Prius in an NHRA-sanctioned drag race. Why not howl about that?

      Reminds me of the PeTAphiles, bravely throwing red paint on older women wearing furs; where are these intelligence-deprived ideologues when the leather-ensconced bikers come to town?

      Just sayin…

  10. Dawn

    Feb 16, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Wow, did I just lose a steaming pile of respect for Dr. Kilstein. Really? Do you think that this is going to get you ahead with this post? ignorance is not going to get you very far by writing stupid, stupid articles like this. It better get better or it’s coming off my bookmark bar.

    I thought this was to be the end-all of all dog sites? Oh, please. Get it together.

    • Dawn

      Feb 16, 2012 at 12:33 am

      And oh, maybe someone should educate you where those mutts originated from? It is important to maintain pure bloodlines and to celebrate that is not a crime. I have rescued 13 chihuahuas that are all with me now. I don’t give a crap that some are purebreds and others aren’t. I love them all the same.

      Grow-up, stop whining (your political tendencies are showing….)

      • Ralph

        Feb 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        Hitler said that it was important to maintain pure bloodlines too.

  11. Judy Herring

    Feb 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    There are mixed breed registries, there are mixed breed events – I know many people who participate in them, including mixed breed conformation. AKC does have events available for mixed breeds. You really do need to do some research!

    There are people devoted to their mixed breed dogs, I’ve owned two and loved them dearly. That being said, I show and breed purebred, papered, AKC registered dogs. I have a breed I dearly love and want to protect for the future.

    Westminster is the pinnacle, but there are dog shows all around where breeders strive for the same things that are televised: The dog that most nearly approaches the standard for the breed. It is hard work and takes years and years to achieve. Just as we celebrate human talent in film and music, we celebrate talent in the canine world. We can’t give those dogs Grammys, Emmys, or Oscars, but they can win Best in Show or High in Trial or highest score in agility or earthdog or nosework or….well, it goes on and on.

    Quit whining and participate! You and your dogs can become a winning team with training and work, work, work. Do you have the dedication it takes?

  12. Sammy

    Feb 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    The author appears upset that mixed bred dogs aren’t able to enter the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Why on earth would the author even want to enter a mixed bred dog in a dog show for purebred dogs? It doesn’t make sense, unless the author is hallucinating or ignorant.

    The author apparently doesn’t know about the MBDCA (www.mbdca.org):
    “Owners of mixed breeds can enjoy the thrill of competing for titles in obedience, conformation, tracking and much more. The Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (MBDCA) is a national registry for mixed breeds, providing many of the same opportunities that the American Kennel Club (AKC) offers for purebreds.”

  13. Donna Watkins

    Feb 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I am curious why there are purebred dogs lining the entire top of the page. Surely you can find more PC illustrations, rather than these pampered, master race caricatures of dogs? Oh, wait. It’s because even when it comes to rescue, people are still interested in purebred dogs.

  14. Spcpo

    Feb 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Not only are you full of it – I can see you don’t even know who can enter at Westminster.
    Not only do you have to have an AKC registered dog, you also have to be lucky enough to either be in the top five winning dogs of your breed (guaranteed invitation with entry if paperwork returned by deadlines set) or you have to be an AKC Champion in your breed and hope and pray that your paperwork makes it to the Westminster headquarters, is opened and accepted BEFORE the limit number is reached of possible entries.
    Westminster is the most prestigious dog show in the USA (some believe in the world) with a limited number of dogs being able to be shown. So, until ALL of the AKC Champions who want to show at Westminster can be entered…there shouldn’t be any other classes for the “mutts”.
    Next year, the entries will include class dogs that have earned a major towards their AKC championship and thus they will be able to attempt to enter Westminster, but this number will also be limited.
    Respect, Prestige and Honor are earned. Westminster has earned all three because of what it is.
    If you want to enter your “mutt” you can apply to AKC for a registration number and work in a companion event area of your choice and enter dog shows. Mutts will never be eligible for conformation shows (Westminster is this type) because it is a judging of purebred BREEDING stock. If you take a mutt and breed it for generations in specific ways, solidifying specific traits so they are passed down to offspring in a guaranteed manner, then you might be able to apply for recognition into AKC and get to Westminster but then you are no longer a mutt – but have worked hard and attained the recognition of a purebred.
    You need to research and find out what you are writing about instead of writing without any research and looking the fool.

    • Sam Hillary

      Sep 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you Spcpo! You are exactly right! There is such a negative stigma placed on confirmation shows. Articles like this wouldn’t exists if people really knew why these shows go on and how amazing the breeders/owners are that participate in these shows. All dog shows, including Westminster, are here to promote proper and ethical breeding programs. Without these dog shows there would be very few ethical breeders or healthy breeds out there.

      I guess It’s hard for people that have never been involved in dog shows to understand all of this. They see a bunch of snobs who abuse their dogs and stop people from adopting dogs. These stereotypes could not be further from truth. All the people that I know from dog shows, including westminster are normal down to earth people who LOVE their dogs like they are their children. They work hard at maintaing the integrity of their breed.

  15. Fulvia

    Feb 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    This article shows a great deal of ignorance on behalf of the author. Have you asked yourself why there are so many breeds? Have you asked yourself how and why those breeds came about? The Sporting breeds: selected to point, flush and retrieve birds their size and coat reflect the terrains they work in. Hounds selected to hunt hair coated animals ei rabbits. Working selected to do a job, whether guard or carry. Hearding, to help with sheep, cows etc. Terriers to eliminate rodents. 100 years ago there were no supermarkets and people had to fetch their own food, help guard the animals that gave them meat, milk, wool for their clothing. That is not to say that many still carry out the function for which they were bred. If you start to mix all the breeds you loose the selection for their function, hence the essence of the breed. You should document yourself before writing such non-sense. Yes I stand by pure breed dogs.

    • somchy

      Feb 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      yes, these pure breed dogs were developed for certain purposes.
      yet, this dog show does not judge them on how well the dog performs these purposes..

      it is just a beauty show for snobs.

  16. FloJo

    Feb 15, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    The mutt owners can get together their own registry, create their own standards, and put on their own show of mixed breeds while paying to rent MSG.

    They’ve had an example for 136 years to follow. But it’s much easier to just do nothing, sit back and complain instead, isn’t it?

  17. renee

    Feb 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Oh good lord, what a load of claptrap

    Most mutts/mixed breeds are altered, there is no altered class, that alone is reason why those dogs can’t be entered.

    Another reason is this is for PEDIGREED, PAPERED dogs. Mixes, no matter how cute, do not have a known genealogy.

    Thirdly, there is no way to judge ‘mutts’. . .no standard, as there is no standarization of type. You have mutts you look like Poodles, some that look like terriers, and then some like my beloved mutt, may he RIP, who didn’t look like anything, just a cute brindle thing. How do you judge that?

    It’s a dog show, for purebred dogs, for AKC registered dogs. . just like you can’t go to a country club you don’t belong in and expect to be able to play their games, why would you expect to do so with your un membershiped dogs?

  18. Linda

    Feb 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Unbelievable! That attitude almost leaves me speechless. Every member of my family has a dog or cat (or several) that were rescued from the Humane Society or a shelter. And we wouldn’t trade a single one of them for 10 pure breds. I adopted my flat coated retriever mix when she was a year old. She’s now 13 and is the light of my life. She still takes me for a walk every day and makes my life better in so many ways. These people have it all wrong. The heart of a dog is so much more important than its bloodline. And the animal shelters are full of dogs with great hearts. I wish I could adopt many more of them.

  19. shana

    Feb 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    westminster show just showing their true pedigree. what a shanda!

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