Hello-Hello, happy new week to everyone.
Today we focus on four-legged family members. Canine fans are aware the Westminster Dog Show finals get underway this evening. Officials have spent the day judging individual breeds, tonight winners will be selected from four groups: Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups. Below, Beagles being shown at last year’s event.
At any rate, today’s Journal has a story titled Everybody Loves Labradors, So Why Are They Underdogs?, examining why no Labs have won Best in Show in the 136 years of Westminster.
For the past 22 years, the Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S., tying the Poodle’s record reign atop American Kennel Club registrations.
The Labrador hasn’t even made it out of the Sporting group to sniff at Westminster’s grand prize. In other words, Labradors are the Chicago Cubs of show dogs: the most lovable of four-legged losers.
Some believe “flashier breeds” may hold more appeal for judges. Below, two Neopolitan Bull Mastiffs competing in this year’s show.
Others say part of the problem could be the breed standard. (That is what the dogs are judged on, not against each other, but how well they meet the very strict standards.) Back to Ben Cohen’s story:
In 1994, when the Labrador Retriever Club developed the standard to be implemented by the AKC, it was so contentious that six breeders sued. The case lasted six years and ended when their attempts to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court were unsuccessful.
Yikes, that is some serious disagreement!
Last year’s winner of Best in Show was Malachy, a Pekingese.
The WSJ story quotes a woman who owns an award-winning lab, her theory about why the breed hasn’t won also makes sense.
Her theory for the Labrador’s dry spell: other dogs have waged better campaigns. Show-dog owners can burn six-figure fortunes by advertising in trade publications and traveling to shows across the country. Along the way, Ms. Ammerman said, they hope their dogs gain a higher profile. “Pure, simple politics,” she said.
On an up note, Labs are probably easier to take care of than many of the ‘sexier’ breeds.
Another very popular breed that has never won: Golden Retrievers.
Tilly always felt she was Best in Show-worthy. We didn’t have the heart to tell her the odds probably weren’t in her favor. (Something to do with that tummy, my word, it looks like she swallowed a volleyball!)
For those who want to watch, the show is on 8-11pm EST on CNBC this evening, tomorrow night it airs on the USA network.
Also unlikely to qualify for Best in Show status, participants in this weekend’s Doggies and Tiaras event, a fundraiser for an animal rescue group.
More from NY Magazine’s story:
On Saturday night, while fashion people were all worrying about which Fashion Week party to go to, a different style-obsessed crew was at the New Yorker Hotel. There, at the first annual NYC Doggies & Tiaras Pageant, cake-faced humans flaunted their long-suffering dogs in three categories: activewear, talent, and glamour.
Until next time, may your pooch be happy and healthy!