Tonawanda News — Much like today’s beauty pageants, dogs now get to share their talents in addition to their good looks. Feb. 8 across this state, the Westminster Kennel Club’s first venture into agility drew its entry limit with 225 dogs for the first Masters Agility Championship. This precedes the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which will be held Feb. 10 and 11 in New York City.
The agility dogs came from 653 entry submissions and included 35 Border collies (well-known for their agility), 21 Shetland sheepdogs, 20 Papillons and 16 All American dogs (mixed breeds), with representatives from 63 breeds and 23 states.
When you add these dogs to the 2,845 entered in the All Breed Dog Show it makes it the largest entry since 1990. Founded in 1877, The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event. The longest continuously help sporting event is the Kentucky Derby. The show Feb. 10 and 11 is dedicated to showcasing the sport of purebred dogs. Although yesterdays agility championship was open to dogs competing at excellent or masters level. That included both purebred dogs and mixed breeds. The mixed breed category was significant, bringing non-purebred dogs to a Westminster event for the first time since the very earliest days of its show.
On Feb. 10, three breeds newly-recognized by the American Kennel Club will be eligible for Westminster for the first time: Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (8 entries, hound group), the Chinook (4, working group), and the Rat Terrier (20, terrier group).
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno comes in three sizes, small (pequeno), medium (médio) and large (grande), but only the pequeno will be shown at this year’s show. They are a sight and scent hound and each size corresponds to what they would hunt for: rabbits, wild boar or deer. They come in a smooth or wire coat and they all appear to be a golden color.