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.

70 Pounds of Labrador Hair?

March 7, 2011

I just heard a staggering number, and it is not about our national deficit. In one year, your Labrador sheds 70 pounds of hair. Imagine what that number could be if your dog or cat develops a medical condition causing increased hair loss.

Shedding is normal, but there are medical conditions which increase hair loss. Skin infections, parasites and allergies cause itching, which causes scratching and results in hair loss. Ringworm, mange and fleas can affect both the pet and human family members with itchy skin lesions.

Hair loss due to Cushing’s disease/Photo: AMC

Hormone disorders can cause increased hair loss in pets. Called endocrine alopecia in textbook talk, pets with hormone disorders tend to lose hair on the body and retain hair on the face and feet as you can see in the photograph to the right. This dog suffered from an excess of hormone production from the adrenal glands called Cushing’s disease. Imagine how much hair was in this pet’s home. An underproduction of thyroid hormone is another disorder where hair loss increases.

West Highland White Terrier/Photo: AMC

Certain dogs on chemotherapy, such as Poodles, Old English Sheepdogs and Terriers tend to lose a lot of hair. The West Highland White Terrier pictured here has lost all his long feather coat due to cancer treatment, but retained his undercoat.

In addition to seeking veterinary care for your pet with excessive hair loss or bald patches, there are some solutions to the home hair problems. Wearing a T-shirt can help collect the hair of a pet with increased hair loss. The shirt can easily be laundered to remove the hair and prevent its spread around the house. For my chemotherapy patients, I suggest a short haircut before the hair loss starts. If your pet has a favorite chair, I recently saw an attractive chair cover designed with pets in mind.

Frequent brushing until the hair loss subsides is another method of coping with excessive hair loss. Special deshedding tools safely remove hair, and in cats, deshedding will have the added benefit of decreasing hairballs.

So if you notice bald patches on your pet, more hair on the furniture or more scratching than usual, it would be a good idea to visit your veterinarian for a full evaluation.

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.

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