The 139th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: Old and New

February 11, 2015
Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear | Photo: AKC

This coming weekend begins the multi-day canine spectacular known as the Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show. The annual event is the second oldest continuous sporting event in the United States, ranking number two to the Kentucky Derby, one year its senior. Dog lovers can spend Valentine’s Day watching the second annual Master’s Agility Competition at Westminster or meeting over 100 different purebred dogs at the AKC Meet the Breeds show. The WKC Show takes place Monday and Tuesday, February 16 and 17. Daytime events are at Piers 92 and 94 (711 12th Avenue at 55th Street). The evening events, Best of Group and Best in Show, can be seen at Madison Square Garden where the Show has been held for 139 years.

Every Year Beau-tee-ful Dogs!
Nothing new here. The WKC Show will feature nearly 3,000 gorgeous dogs, at least one dog representing each of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) 184 registered breeds. Leading the pack in terms of numbers are America’s family dogs, the Golden Retriever with 58 entries and Labrador Retrievers with 56. The breed represented by the fewest number of entrants is the Norwegian Lundehund with one ‘lone wolf’ entrant. These truly are rare dogs; I checked The Animal Medical Center’s (AMC) 57,638 dog registrations and found only three Norwegian Lundehunds. This Norse breed features six toes on each foot and a neck so flexible, the top of their head can touch their back, both advantageous adaptations for hunting puffins on the icy slopes of Norway. Like most Artic breeds, they have a thick coat to help them withstand frigid temperatures.

New Breeds at the Show
The list of 184 AKC breeds includes two breeds newly recognized by the American Kennel Club that will be seen at Westminster for the first time: the Coton de Tulear in the Non-Sporting Group and the Wirehaired Vizsla in the Sporting Group. The veterinarians at The AMC know the Coton well as they are popular pets in NYC and we have 145 of them as patients. Since the Wirehaired Vizsla was not imported to the United States until the 1970s, they are not well known. Seeing the Wirehaired Vizslas at the WKC Show will be a special treat since none of these Hungarian hunting dogs have been seen as patients at The AMC.

New Arrivals for 2016
We already know that next year there will be four new breeds ready for participation in the 2016 WKC Show: the Spanish Water Dog, the Cirneco dell’Etna, the Bergamasco and the Boerboel. Except for the Spanish Water Dog, the list appears to be more like a spelling bee challenge than names of dogs!

As Always, The AMC Will Be There
The AMC’s veterinarians will be in attendance for emergency care at both the Piers and the Garden from Saturday until the 2015 Best in Show is named. The AMC will also have an information booth at Meet the Breeds on Saturday (Booth #131 Pier 92) and at the WKC Show on Monday and Tuesday (#44 Pier 94). Please stop by and say hello.

Veterinary Year in Review: 2014

December 31, 2014

Dog Breeds in the News

February 5, 2014

For pet lovers, there has been exciting news about dog breeds recently. In less than a month, the American Kennel Club (AKC) will introduce three new breeds at the upcoming Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) Dog Show in New York City. The WKC Show, February 8-11, 2014, will allow dogs of any breed or no breed at all to enter their new agility competition, which will be held on Saturday before the big show. Finally, both The Animal Medical Center and Pets Best Insurance announced their top ten dog breeds, based on the number of pets we care for and they insure.

rat terrier

Rat Terrier

Old Dogs, New Club
The Portuguese Podengo PequenoChinook and Rat Terrier are new only to the AKC dog show ring. One of the most ancient of dog breeds, the Portugese Podengo Pequeno, came to Portugal from Asia Minor around 1000 B.C. This lively hound is related to other ancient breeds such as the Pharaoh Hound and the Basenji. The Rat Terrier is a home grown breed developed early in the 19th century from European terriers imported by immigrants to the United States. The Chinook is another American breed, most famous as the State Dog of New Hampshire, where the breed was developed. For more on these new AKC breeds, listen to David Frei, the voice of Westminster, on NPR. 

And the Top Dog is…
A comparison of the top ten breeds seen at The AMC, insured by Pets Best Insurance and holding AKC registrations shows some interesting trends:

top 10 dog breeds 2013

The Labrador Retriever, Dachshund and Yorkshire Terrier made all three top ten lists. The mixed breed dog topped both The AMC and Pets Best lists. No surprise here, since AKC does not include mixed breed dogs in their registration. Also on two of the three lists were several small breed dogs, such as the Chihuahua, Shih Tzu and the Maltese Terrier, possibly influenced by the dogs of Paris Hilton or Halle Berry. The ever steady German Shepherd Dog and the much maligned Pit Bull Terrier also made two of the three lists. Unique to the AMC list were the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Pomeranian, probably reflecting apartment dwellers selection of a small dog.

Seeing Fewer Spots
Breed popularity comes and goes with popular culture. The movie 101 Dalmations sparked a national craze for the spotted dogs. In 2005, the Dalmatian ranked number 47 in the list of dog breeds seen at The AMC. This past year, Dalmatians dropped in the ranking to 100 as dog owners fell in love with different breeds, for example the French Bulldog.

A Rising Star Among the Breeds
According to Pets Best Insurance, a number of breeds have gained popularity in recent years. In their database, the French Bulldog has seen the most dramatic rise. In 2006, the French Bulldog was the 55th most popular dog breed enrolled with Pets Best. By 2013, this small, muscular pooch soared up the list to become the 19th most popular breed. While Pets Best insures pets nationwide, The AMC’s New York City-based practice reflects the same meteoric rise in the popularity of the French Bulldog. In 2005, Frenchies ranked 30th and our veterinarians cared for 120 individual Frenchies. In 2013, the number of these dogs seen at The AMC has increased 2.5 times to 275 individual dogs.

See More Dog Breeds and Visit the AMC Booth
Like we do every year, The AMC will have a booth in the benching area of the WKC Show on February 10th and 11th. We would love to have you stop by and visit us. You can find us in Booth 16 at Piers 92/94, right alongside the Hudson River at 55th Street and 12th Avenue.

This year, AMC veterinarians have a new role at the 138th WKC show, that of Official Show Veterinarian. Several of our veterinarians will be on site at the Piers and Madison Square Garden, which showcases the main ring events, on both nights to triage any emergencies that could arise.

If you are not a fan of purebred dogs, this year there will be mixes, mutts and Heinz 57 type dogs at the Masters Agility Championship at the WKC Show.

We hope to see you all there!

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2012

February 20, 2012

AMC's Westminster Booth

In the exhibit area at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, The Animal Medical Center joins Angels on a Leash, Take the Lead, the ASPCA and others to answer medical questions from show attendees and provide them with AMC goodie bags. Old friends often stop by to thank us for care we have given to a beloved pet.

One dog lover told the story of her Afghan Hound that fell off a ledge a the Brooklyn Public Library, puncturing a lung and fracturing both front legs. She reported the ER staff at AMC repaired both legs with metal rods and fixed the puncture, restoring the dog to full health. Another visitor to the booth was a veterinary colleague from out of town. On the way into the show ring, her Labrador Retriever was bitten on the ear by a dog on the way out of the show ring dashing the dog’s chances of a ribbon. We called The AMC and arranged for her dog to have the ear repaired. The ill-behaved dog has since been banished from competition.

Doggy restroom line

Line for the restroom

The Westminster Show is the one of the oldest continuous sporting events held in the United States, second only to the Kentucky Derby. Like many big sporting events it is held in a huge sporting area, Madison Square Garden. Like many big sporting events, there are lines. In the case of the Westminster Show, the line to use the doggy restroom is a bit unconventional since the restroom is unisex– it has chain link walls and is filled with sawdust chips! The photograph to the right shows the restroom line late on Tuesday afternoon which resembles the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.


In most sporting events, hearing your coach say the words, “you’re benched” might be devastating to an athlete. Not so at the Westminster Show, since this is considered a “bench show.” The benching area, just off the ring in the basement of Madison Square Garden, has endeared the show to attendees who come by the thousands. The benched dogs spend all day with their handlers meeting the adoring public and getting petted so much, it seems their meticulously groomed coats could be rubbed off. For a photo album of the great dogs I got to meet in the benching area, visit The AMC’s Facebook page.

What’s in a name?

While in the benching area I struck up a conversation with CH Darby Canyon Gracie’s Fellini, a Spinone Italiano. I inquired about his name, which was listed on his crate as Rico. The woman sitting with Rico said her name was Grace and all her dogs have Grace in their names. Because he is of Italian descent, the Fellini part of Rico’s name comes from the famous Italian director Frederico Fellini and Frederico has been truncated to Rico which is the call name of this handsome creature.

And the winner is….

A member of The AMC family! CH Palacegarden Malachy, the winning Pekingese and now Best in Show is co-owned by Professor Iris C. Love, an avid dog lover and member of The AMC’s’ Board of Trustees.

Malachy’s physical attributes make great copy. The LA Times called him a bobbing pompom; MSNBC described him as the love child of Chewbacca and an Ewok; and meanwhile Malachy made appearances on the morning news shows sitting on a blue tuffet like Miss Muffett!

Watch a composite video of Malachy and his winning performances at the Garden:


This may also be found in the Tales from the Pet Clinic blog on

For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

What Was Best about Best in Show?

February 16, 2011

Empire State Building. Photo: Dr. Philip Fox

Last night was the grand finale of the 135th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. By all measures, the event was grand. The purple and gold Empire State building illuminated New York City while 179 breeds were whittled down to a single, Best in Show dog. The Animal Medical Center team worked hard in our booth and in the Westminster booth rolling and packing signed posters purchased in support of the AMC’s Postgraduate Education Programs.

David Fitzpatrick and Malachy. Photo: Dr. Philip Fox

The successful WKC Show struck me as being different than in previous years. The media presence was huge — note the photo of Malachy the Pekingese being interviewed by Fox News.

The group winners were not breeds seen every day on the streets of New York, and haven’t been big winners at past WKC Shows. The size variation between the Best in Show competitors could not have been greater. Even the judge was unique — the first Italian to ever judge WKC Best in Show.

The dogs showing at the WKC Show are divided into seven groups and the seven group winners move up to the Best in Show competition. Last night, the seven dogs — Scottish Deerhound, Shar Pei, Bearded Collie, Portuguese Water Dog, Black Cocker Spaniel, Smooth Coated Fox Terrier and Pekingese — represented less common breeds and infrequent winners. The Pekingese last won in 1960, the Black Cocker Spaniel in 1941 and the Smooth Coated Fox Terrier in 1910. The Scottish Deerhound has been shown at the WKC show since the very first show, but it has not previously won a Best in Show.

The view from Madison Square Garden. Photo: Dr. Philip Fox

The Best in Show competition involves the dog version of a catwalk around the floor of Madison Square Garden. Keep in mind this floor accommodates a basketball court, a hockey rink and next week, Lady Gaga and her fans. No problem for the leggy Scottish Deerhound to waltz back and forth over the AstroTurf covering the floor. The same goes for the Smooth Coated Fox Terrier who moved like the Energizer Bunny; but the poor little Pekingese must have taken ten times as many steps as the Deerhound to complete his show ring trip due to his small stature.

From my vantage point, opposite the judging table, there was not a clear crowd favorite. Some years you can predict the winner based on the decibels of cheering from the audience. If that had been true, the Bearded Collie would have taken home the trophy. The person to my right whispered the Pekingese would be hard to beat and the person to my left was betting on the Shar Pei.

Even though the regal Scottish Deerhound, Hickory, took home the most prestigious prize in dogdom, the best part of Best in Show was that last night “Dogs Ruled.”

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.


For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

The AMC Welcomes Westminster Attendees

January 28, 2009

wkc-dog-show1On February 9-10, the famous New York City event, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be held at Madison Square Garden. Over 2,000 dogs from all over the world will be in New York City to compete for the coveted Best in Show trophy.

Although spectators and dog enthusiasts from around the globe will be at the Garden, this event is a favorite with the hometown crowd as well. The Animal Medical Center is no different. We will be at the show to welcome you. Please be sure to visit us at Booth #102  for information about The AMC and to receive a free gift!

As part of our welcome, we have prepared a dog’s eye view of New York City for our guests. The list includes the three D’s: Dining, Destinations and Dog runs! We are thrilled to have so many dog visitors in NYC and hope you will stop by our booth at the Garden. We hope you won’t have a need to visit us at 510 East 62nd Street, but if you need us we’ll be open 24/7, as always, to handle any of your dog’s medical needs.

Manhattan Dog Runs & Off-Leash Areas

• Carl Schurz Park (2 runs) – East End Avenue to East River from Gracie Square (E. 84th Street) to 89th Street
• Central Park – Runs from 59th Street to 110th Street, between 5th and 8th Avenue
• Chelsea Waterside Park – 11th Avenue and 22nd Street
• Coleman Oval Park – Pike and Monroe Streets
• DeWitt Clinton Park (2 runs) – W. 52nd Street & W. 54th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues
• East River Park – Next to tennis courts between Delancey and Houston
• Fish Bridge Park – Dover Street between Pearl & Water Street
• Fort Tryon Park – Margaret Corbin Drive
dogpark150• Ft. Washington Park – 165th Street & Riverside Drive
• Highbridge Park – Amsterdam and Fort George avenues
• Hudson River Park (Greenwich Village) – Leroy Street at the northeast corner of Pier 40
• Hudson River Park (North Chelsea) – Pier 84 at W. 44th Street
• Inwood Hill Park – Dyckman Street and Payson Avenue
• J. Hood Wright – Fort Washington & Haven Avenues, W. 173rd Street • Madison Square Park – Madison Avenue to 5th Avenue between E. 23rd Street & E. 26th Street
• Marcus Garvey Park – Madison Avenue and E. 120th Street
• Morningside Park – Morningside Avenue between 114th and 119th streets
• Peter Detmold Park – West of FDR Drive, between E. 49th & E. 51st streets
• Randalls Island Park – accessible via the footbridge at E. 103rd Street
• Riverside Park (3 runs) – Riverside Drive at W. 72nd, West 87th, W. 105th
• Robert Moses Park – 41st & 42nd streets at 1st Avenue
• St. Nicholas Park – St Nicholas Avenue to St. Nicholas Terrace, W. 128th to W. 141 Streets
• Theodore Roosevelt Park – Central Park West at W. 81st Street
• Thomas Jefferson Park – E. 112th Street and FDR Drive
• Tompkins Square Park – 1st Avenue to Avenue B, from E. 7th to E. 10th Streets
• Union Square Dog Run – 15th Street & Union Square West
• Washington Square Park – 5th Avenue, Waverly Place, W. 4th Street, between McDougal & Thompson Streets, south side of the park (behind building)

Following information provided by:

Pet Transportation
• AmbuVet: 800-AMBU-VET/800-262-8838
• Houndexpress: 917-693-5652 or visit
• City Pet Transportation: 917-532-5572 or visit
• Pet Taxi: 212-755-1757 or visit

Pet Friendly Hotels (Manhattan)
• 70 Park Avenue Hotel – 70 Park Ave
• Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square  – 1605 Broadway
• Hilton Hotel – 1335 Avenue of the Americas
• Hilton Hotel – 234 W. 42nd Street
• Holiday Inn Express Madison Square Garden – 232 W. 29th Street
• Holiday Inn Express New York City Fifth Avenue – 15 W. 45th Street
• Hotel Wales – 1295 Madison Avenue
• New York Marriott Marquis – 1535 Broadway
• Novotel – New York – 226 W. 52nd Street
• Regency Hotel – 540 Park Avenuepet-hotel
• Renaissance New York Hotel – 714 7th Avenue
• Residence Inn New York /Times Square – 1033 Avenue of the Americas
• Ritz-Carlton Central Park – 50 Central Park South
• Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers – 811 7th Avenue on 53rd Street
• Sofitel Hotel – 45 W. 44th Street
• Soho Grand Hotel – 310 West Broadway
• Swissotel NY -The Drake – 440 Park Avenue
• The Muse – 130 W. 46th Street 
• The Westin New York at Times Square – 270 W. 43rd Street 
• Tribeca Grand Hotel – 2 Avenue of the Americas 
• Trump International Hotel & Tower – 1 Central Park West (small dogs only)
• W New York – The Court – 130 E. 39th Street
• W New York – Union Square – 201 Park Avenue South
• W New York – 541 Lexington Avenue 
• W The Tuscany – 120 E. 39th Street
• W Times Square – 1567 Broadway at 47th Street
• Brooklyn Bridge Self-Guided Walk – Park Row
• Federal Hall National Memorial – 26 Wall Street
• General Grant National Monument – Riverside Drive and 122nd Street
dog-attractions• New York City Boardwalks – various 
• NYC Dog Walking Tour – various
• South Street Seaport – South Street
• Statue of Liberty National Monument – Liberty Island
• Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site – 28 E. 20th Street 
• Times Square Walking Tour – 1560 Broadway 
• TV Broadcasts – various
• William Secord Gallery – 52 E. 76th Street

Shopping Centers and Stores

• Banana Republic – 130 E. 59th Street
• Bed Bath and Beyond – 410 E. 61st Street
• Bergdorf Goodman’s – 754 5th Avenue
• Bloomingdale’s – 1000 Third Avenue
• Bloomingdale’s – 59th Street  
• Doggy Style Gift Shop – 100 Thompson Streetshopping-dog
• Downtown Doghouse – 259 W. 18th Street 
• For Pets Only Pet Boutique – 87 Mercer Street 
• Petco Pet Store 86th Street – 147-149 E. 86th Street
• Petco Pet Store 92nd/Broadway – 2475 Broadway 
• Petco Pet Store Kips Bay – 560 Second Avenue
• Petco Pet Store Union Square – 860 Broadway
• Polo Ralph Lauren – 72nd Street & Madison Avenue
• Restoration Hardware – 935 Broadway 
• Saks Fifth Avenue – 611 Fifth Avenue 
• The Gap – 59th Street and Lexington Avenue
• Tiffany’s – Fifth Avenue at 57th Street 
• Time Warner Center – 10 Columbus Circle
• Tourneau – 12 E. 57th Street

Transportation Systems
• MTA – Regional 
• Madison Avenue Limousine Inc. – 348 E. 15th Sreet, Suite 16
• Metro-North Railroad – 42nd Street and Park Avenue 
• Seastreak Ferry Rides – various
• Staten Island Ferry – Whitehall Street

New York City Buses and Subway
Small domestic pets are permitted on New York City Transit buses and subways and Long Island Bus only when they are carried in kennels or similar containers that can by accommodated by you on your lap without annoyance to other passengers. Service animals properly harnessed and accompanying people with disabilities are always welcome in MTA’s network.

Emergency Veterinarians
The Animal Medical Center – 24 hours/7 days a week  – 510 E. 62nd Street (24 hour translation service available)

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