Westminster Dog Show 2021 Live Updates: Terriers Take the Stage Before Best in Show

Westminster Dog Show 2021 Live Updates: Terriers Take the Stage Before Best in Show

Westminster Dog Show 2021 Live Updates: Terriers Take the Stage Before Best in Show

The West Highland white terrier wins the terrier group. Big night for lovely white dogs so far.

That dog is blinding!

Dr. Antkowiak says the West Highland white terrier is prone to chronic lung disease.

“With the heart of a hunter and a brain determined to outwit every adversary….” Sorry, this West Highland white terrier has killed HOW MANY people?

This is really a lot of terriers.

We could use a mutt interlude, or maybe a poorly behaved dog contest in which we see which dogs don’t jump on the counter or chew up children’s socks.

Convince me that shows don’t keep some of these long-haired breeds around as part of some secret plan to prop up the slow-motion replay industry.

It’s a rug with legs.

I’m not convinced these dogs with hair over their eyes have any idea where they’re going without the leash.

“The exact origin of the Norwich terrier is unclear” feels like a disqualifying sentence for the entire breed.

The DOG is happy to be at Westminster? I’m no therapist but that seems like some projection.

Do we think the owners train to have a good gait? They must practice this jog/walk. It is not natural.

Wow, one of the announcers just brought up the film “Best in Show” and everyone seemed desperate to move on from it quickly — is that a sensitive subject?

There’s no quicker way to end a dog show interview than bringing up a movie that famously made fun of dog shows and the people who love them.

Barry Bonds is there! Andy, are there rules against these dogs taking performance enhancing drugs?

Who’s checking the pee? Not me.

Being named the best terrier is like winning the South Korean Olympic archery trials. The hardest part of the journey is surviving that. If you don’t win the gold — or the silver bowl — after that, it’s on you.

Thirty-four minutes until Best in Show! What is this pacing?!

They keep saying “we’re getting closer” but I know it’s not true.

My dog has fallen asleep. Not sure how these dogs are still awake.

Veterinarian fact: There is a huge shortage of vets in America right now, exacerbated by the pandemic. It takes about a year to hire a new vet, and Dr. Antkowiak is hiring, if you’re a DVM out there and looking for a job.

Again with the “intelligent” humblebrag. I wonder what the bio for humans would be if a dog wrote it.

This bull terrier is a descendant of Spuds MacKenzie, for those who remember ’90s-era Bud Light TV ads.


Well, a metaphysical descendant.

Time for a quick catnap. Er…

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Striker the Samoyed wins the Working group.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Striker, the Samoyed who won the working group, is a heavy hitter. He’s the No. 1-ranked dog in the country, a metric built out of competitions won and dogs defeated that I won’t even pretend to understand or explain. He’s also Canadian, from Toronto, and as white as he looks on television. Just an immaculate dog.

Guys, I’m not loving these hairless dogs.

Richard Sandomir, who covered this show wonderfully for years, can hear you, Reid.

Was this event black-tie optional?

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Important update from Dr. Antkowiak: He says dogs can see the television. Though I have to tell you mine has not been interested in the dog show tonight.

New breed, old tricks.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Sure. Eat chicken. Run around. Sit for three-hour blow outs. Seems like a pretty good life.

This is going by quickly.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

OK, maybe we’ve had views of the announcers before but this is the first time I noticed them, and I was shocked to realize they are in opera attire.

Did you guys hear that commentary just now? “He just wants to be a dog right now,” she said. As opposed to what?

AS OPPOSED TO CAITY WEAVER! And who could blame him?

Striker the Samoyed wins the working group! Up next are the terriers.

That the standard schnauzer used to be known as the “ratter” feels like something the schnauzers wouldn’t want people to broadcast on national television.

Readers, thank you SO MUCH for sending us all your dog photos at #nytdogshow. Here are a few more of our favorites:

And now the Epstein dogs-in-heaven section.

My sister’s dog, Oliver, a great Alaskan Husky who passed away last week.

And thanks to my mother, this is my childhood Labrador, Roxie.

Snack break anyone?

Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Apparently Samoyeds are “the happiest dogs on the planet,” Dr. Antkowiak says.

I’d LOVE to have the happiest dog on the planet, but there’s no way I could keep a white dog that white.

They smile to keep the drool from forming ice on their face? That does not seem that happy of a story.

That’s why I smile too.

Why is the back of this Portuguese water dog shaved? Looks like it’s not wearing pants. “It’s the dog best suited for Zoom calls,” Dr. Antkowiak says.

Like most people, I know the Portuguese water dog as “The Obama Dog” — and I’m so glad they never groomed theirs like this! That cold booty!

Everyone is saying the Neapolitan Mastiff is supposed to have tons of loose flapping skin, but no one is saying why. Why???

Just God’s vision, I guess.

The Leonberger is “comfortable performing virtually any job set before it.” OK, Leon — do my job. Write for the New York Times Style section.

Furball coming through.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

We’ve been waiting all night for the Komondor, a cross between Rick James and a ’70s shag rug.

Dr. Antkowiak says he’s never seen a Komondor in real life — it may only exist for dog shows.


Komondor wins for being a Komondor. Pack it up, everyone.

I’m sorry, did they say we’re halfway through the working group? When I got this assignment I specifically asked “Isn’t that like 700 hours?” and was assured it was not. But we’ve gotten through 1.5 groups in the TWO HOURS I’ve been watching.

It is definitely 700 hours. And we were definitely deceived on this assignment.

The Boerboel, I think, and now the Alaskan Malamute just let out a few loud, low barks. It’s always strange hearing a bark at a show, since it’s always such a disciplined group.

OK, a dog tail fact from Dr. Antkowiak: Dogs cannot, in fact, wag their tails so much that they injure them. But! Dogs can get swimmer’s tail, when they wag their tail into an ocean wave and sprain the base of their tail and then it hurts to wag.


That Great Dane looks kinda small to us here.

OK, so every single thing about it is a lie.

Several of the more fearsome working group dogs we are watching have big fans among the soccer stars of England’s Premier League. Our colleague Tariq Panja reported this year that after a spate of robberies at players’ homes on game days, more and more are bringing trained protection dogs into their families. Most then eagerly post photos of them on Instagram as a not-accidental warning: “I have a really big dog.”

The Irish red and white setter is getting lots of treats for Christmas this year.

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Jade leads the way to victory in the sporting group.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Jade, the German short-haired pointer that just won the sporting group, has great blood lines: She is the daughter of C.J., the pointer who won Best in Show in 2016 with the same handler, Valerie Nunes-Atkinson.

But it was a poignant victory for Nunes-Atkinson, too. Her beloved C.J. died in September after a sudden illness. His daughter Jade now has a chance to follow in his footsteps. “She’s a lot like him,” Nunes-Atkinson said.

For these dogs, beauty is a full-time job.

We’ve brought in an outside expert for dog show commentary: Dr. Matthew Antkowiak, the owner of AtlasVet in Washington and the veterinarian for my dog, Nellie. He’s here to help us navigate tonight’s festivities and will give us a heads up if any of these dogs are injured — so long as Nellie stops licking his face.

We asked on Twitter for dog photos, and you answered. Here are a few of our favorites that came in via #nytdogshow, like Buster, a fellow New York Times dog:

Archie, a Labrador ready to go swimming:

Autumn, a Llewellin setter enjoying the mountains:

Charlie, a way-too-small toy poodle:

And Pepper, a very tall dog owned by our friends at The Washington Post:

Hugs from tall dogs, flyaway hairballs, a mastiff’s mug and a convenient place to keep a comb: Here are scenes from the daytime competitions that led to tonight’s prime-time finale.

Welcome to our live coverage of the final night of the Westminster Dog Show, the night when they separate the dogs from, well, the other dogs.

There are four new breeds at the show this year and three new voices in our coverage: Lisa Lerer and Reid Epstein from the New York Times politics team, who are well versed in preening showboats, and Caity Weaver, whose last article was about the website for the 1996 movie “Space Jam,” which makes her an honorary sportswriter. But she writes for Styles, and if there’s anything we’ll need tonight, it’s a bit of style.

The top dogs are competing for these water bowls, er, trophies tonight.
Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Thousands of dogs compete against others from their breed: collie against collie, Saluki against Saluki. The 200 or so breed winners advance to compete against similar breeds in the group finals. The seven group winners then vie for the big prize: Best in Show, this year to be judged by Patricia Craige Trotter of Carmel, Calif. The decision is hers and hers alone.

  • The hounds are hunting dogs and include beagles and whippets. (Saturday’s winner: Bourbon, a whippet.)

  • The toys are small lap dogs like Shih Tzus and pugs. (Saturday’s winner: Wasabi, a Pekingese.)

  • The nonsporting group might well be called the miscellaneous group. It includes dogs that don’t fit elsewhere like Dalmatians and chow chows. (Saturday’s winner: Mathew, a French bulldog.)

  • The herding group was bred to herd and includes German shepherds and Border collies. (Saturday’s winner: Connor, an Old English sheepdog.)

  • The sporting dogs are retrievers and include Irish setters and various spaniels. (Winner chosen tonight.)

  • The working group consists of dogs bred to perform a task and includes Great Danes and Doberman pinschers. (Winner chosen tonight.)

  • The terriers include a host of varieties including fox terriers, Border terriers and many others. (Winner chosen tonight.)

This video from the American Kennel Club describes a typical dog show process in more detail:

From left, a barbet, Biewer terrier, Belgian Laekenois and Dogo Argentino made their debuts this week.
Credit…John Minchillo/Associated Press

More than 200 breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club and are therefore eligible for the Westminster show. The four new entrants in 2021 are:

  • The barbet, a curly haired bearded dog;

  • the Belgian Laekenois, a shaggier shepherd;

  • the Biewer terrier, a longhaired, three-colored toy terrier;

  • and the Dogo Argentino, a white muscular dog with a smooth coat.

Here’s this year’s barbet competition:

The Belgian Laekenois round:

And the Biewer terrier judging:

For the first time, Westminster is being held at Lyndhurst, the Gothic Revival mansion and estate in Tarrytown, N.Y., once owned by the robber baron Jay Gould. Gould and his family loved dogs, though probably not having them hang out in tents and cars all over their lawn. Oh well. That’s what we have.

The 2019 Best in Show winner was a wire fox terrier named King.
Credit…Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

Handicapping a dog show field is a bit harder than picking the winner of the fourth race at Belmont. It is commonly said that terriers are the best bet, and the wire fox terrier does have the most wins, with 15. But terriers have won only two of the last 10 Westminsters, so prediction is difficult.

There may even be terrier fatigue: When King, a wire fox terrier, won best in show honors in 2019, not everyone was thrilled. “Boos and grumbles filled Madison Square Garden when the judge handed King the coveted pewter cup,” The New York Times wrote then.


Video player loading
King, a wire fox terrier, won best in show at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday. Wire fox terriers have won best in show more than any other breed in the competition’s history.CreditCredit…Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

There are show favorites and crowd favorites, and those are not always the same breeds. Golden retrievers and Labradors, for example, are two of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, but neither has ever won best in show at Westminster.

“If you had a popularity contest, we would win,” Christine Miele, the Eastern vice president of the Golden Retriever Club of America, told The Times in 2019.

There will be a whippet named Bourbon and a Pekingese named Wasabi. A French bulldog named Mathew — wait, shouldn’t that be Mathieu? — won the nonsporting group, and an Old English Sheepdog called Connor was judged the best of the herding entries. (He also looked big enough to eat a couple of rivals if the result had not gone his way.)

The Lyndhurst grounds have a long history as the host of dog shows, including dozens of events run by the Westchester Kennel Club.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The nation’s top dogs are getting a weekend in the country.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has been a midwinter tradition in New York City for more than a century, but this year the event moved from Madison Square Garden, its longtime home, to Lyndhurst, a riverside estate in Tarrytown, N.Y., north of the city, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The change to a warm-weather, outdoor show was necessary, organizers said, to ensure the event could take place and still comply with the “ever-changing government restrictions” brought on by the health crisis. The Lyndhurst grounds have a long history as the host of dog shows, including dozens of events run by the Westchester Kennel Club.

The Lyndhurst estate, once owned by the robber baron Jay Gould, is now maintained by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The vast collection of antique furniture inside its iconic Gothic Revival mansion will, presumably, remain off-limits, even to champions.

The change in venue, which was made possible when two other shows agreed to surrender the June dates, allowed the Westminster show to extend a continuous run that dates to 1877, and includes 100 years of shows at various iterations of Madison Square Garden. Only the Kentucky Derby, which was first run in 1875 and crowns a horse, not a dog, as its champion, has had a longer run among American sporting events.

Here’s a look at the setup for this weekend:

You’re in the right place: The New York Times will have live commentary from our, uh, experts, beginning tonight at 7:30 Eastern time.

But you’re probably wondering if you can catch the dogs on TV. There is a “pre-show” at 7 p.m. on Fox, followed by coverage of the actual event beginning at 7:30. First, there will be three group finals, for the sporting, working and terrier groups.

Then, the winners of those groups will join four other group winners — from the hound, toy, non-sporting and herding groups — to compete for Best in Show. The big winner will probably be announced toward the end of the broadcast at 11 p.m.

Fox will also stream the event in its Fox Now and Fox Sports apps.

You can also watch highlights from this weekend’s agility championships:

Those hoping to attend the competition in person are out of luck this year: Spectators not directly involved with a competing dog are prohibited because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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