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Westminster 101: Guide for Student Dog Groomers

What is Westminster?

The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.  Established in 1877, Westminster’s influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all-breed, benched dog show held every year at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Today, America’s dog show has expanded into Westminster Week which includes the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster. More than 3,000 dogs entered from around the world make Westminster Week like no other. As Master Groomer and our founder, Melissa Verplank pointed out in her videolog this week, watching Westminster is a great way for new groomers to improve their pet trims! We’ve highlighted information to help you tune in.

Learn more @ Westminster

How a Dog Show Works

Each dog at a dog show is presented to a judge by either its owner, breeder, or a hired professional. This person is known as the exhibitor or the handler of the dog.

The purpose of conformation shows (also known as dog shows) is to evaluate breeding stock. Judges select winners based on their ability to contribute and improve the next generation of dogs. Dogs start out in the classes competing for points toward their AKC championship title. Dogs win points based on the number of dogs defeated. The more dogs entered, the more points per win. It takes fifteen points, including two majors (wins of three, four or five points), awarded by at least three different judges, to become an American Kennel Club champion.

Breed Groups judged to the AKC Breed Standard include the Working, Herding, Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

Learn more, including judging criteria, a glossary and terminology, at Westminster Dog Shows 101 

This Video By Purina Pro Plan Describes the Show Mechanics:

Additional Shows During Westminster Week:

For information on the Masters Agility Championship Sat. Feb. 9, follow this link.

For information on the Masters Obedience Championship, Feb. 11, follow this link:

The Schedule – 143rd WKC Dog Show

Monday, February 11, 2019

  • Daytime Session (8 am – 4:30 pm)
    • Breed Judging across Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups
    • Junior Showmanship preliminaries
      For more information about Junior Showmanship, click here. 
  • Dog Show 101 (12pm- 1pm)
    • Pier 94, Ring 10
      For more information about Dog Shows, click here. 
  • Evening Session (7:30 pm – 11:30 pm) Doors open at 6 pm for Best of Breed benching area
    • Group Judging across Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups (begins at 7:30 pm)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

  • Daytime Session (8 am – 4:30 pm)
    • Breed Judging across Sporting, Working and Terrier groups
    • Junior Showmanship preliminaries
  • Dog Show 101 Presentation (12pm- 1pm)
    • Pier 94, Ring 10
      For more information about Dog Shows, click here. 
  • Evening Session (7 pm – 11:30 pm) Doors open at 6 pm for Best of Breed benching area
    • Junior Showmanship Finals (begins at 7:00 pm)
    • Group Judging across Sporting, Working and Terrier groups (begins at 7:30 pm)
    • BEST IN SHOW!

Links for Viewing:

Weekend Television/Streaming Schedule

Monday Television/Streaming Schedule

Tuesday Television/Streaming Schedule


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