The Westminster Kennel Club is indeed America's Dog Show, evidenced once again by the fact that everyone wants to be at Madison Square Garden in New York City this February 14-15, 2005 for the 129th Annual event.
As in recent years, the entry limit of 2,500 dogs was reached in less than an hour after entries opened on December 3rd. The final total entry of 2,581 includes dogs that had been invited to pre-enter for being ranked in the top five of their respective breeds or varieties, and 81 dogs also entered in Junior Showmanship.
The Golden Retriever entry of 53 is the show's highest for a single breed or variety the second year in a row and for the 16th time since 1978. That number also represents the highest single entry since 1995 when there were 54 Chinese Shar peis. Dachshunds, with three varieties, have a total entry of 64.
Other top entries include Mastiffs 45, Rhodesian Ridgebacks 39, Havanese 39, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 35, Australian Shepherds 34, Pugs 33, French Bulldogs 33, Samoyeds 32 and Labrador Retrievers 30. Poodles have a total entry of 34 in three varieties.
All 165 breeds and varieties recognised by the American Kennel Club will be represented at the show, to be held at Madison Square Garden. Three newly-recognised breeds will be competing for the first time at Westminster: Neapolitan Mastiffs (three entries), Black Russian Terriers (15) and Glen of Imaal Terriers (five). There are also 81 entries in Junior Showmanship, where young handlers age 10-18 compete based only on their handling abilities (for 2005, Juniors are required to have ten wins during the previous show year to qualify, while in recent past years eight qualifying wins were needed).
By state, California (313 entries) and New York (226) will have the largest contingents of entries. All 48 of the contiguous states, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Canada have entries (complete state-by-state breakdown follows). Breeds and Varieties in the Working, Terriers, Toy, and Non Sporting Groups will be benched and judged during the day on Monday, with Group competition that evening. On Tuesday, breeds and varieties in the Sporting, Hound and Herding Groups will be benched and judged, with judging of those Groups and Best In Show to be held Tuesday evening.
The evening competition will be televised live each evening at 8pm (ET) on USA Network.
For all entries and a complete state-by-state entry breakdown, log on to www.westminsterkennelclub.org