Letter From the AKC President Dennis Sprung
How do you top the excellence of last year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? One draws on the expertise of the fancy and AKC, driven by passionate Show Chairs. This is enhanced by the amazing Florence, with Linda, Gail, and the balance of staff.
Is there room for improvement? Of course, but the 146th Westminster was another unquestionable success—large rings, spacious aisles, huge tents, a beautiful indoor facility, and 3,092 dogs entered. It is inspiring to see the likes of Peter, Elliott, and Desi seated together ringside watching breed after breed. Also, there were many dear old friends, helpful caring Superintendents, and expert Executive Field Representatives with a club of dedicated members. So, like magic, it once again was impressive.
It’s not New York City, but to our breeders and exhibitors it is still “The Garden” and a win here carries prestige and fulfillment for each breeding program. Westminster is good for the sport, as is the sport good for Westminster.
From Saturday’s 9th Annual Masters Agility Championship to Monday’s 7th Annual Masters Obedience competition when breed judging began on Monday at 8:30 with Pharaoh Hounds and Ibizan Hounds, the show just rolled. If there were issues, Dave and Dave had them cured or away from sight. To the participants and spectators, everything was smooth. The weather gods again blessed us with only a slight warning on Wednesday. The setting is majestic; however, longtime dog people know the challenge that rain can present on this site. Fortunately, everything worked, and it worked well.
At the Sunday evening club dinner, the Westminster people once again brought forth their unique history. Each speech being meaningful and to the point; a warm welcome to Darrell and thank you to Chat, and appreciation for the hospitality to AKC’s Board and staff. Best in Show judge Donald Sturz Jr. spoke from the heart, reminding each one of us about why we are here and our total love for dogs and this AKC sport.
In the mix was Monday evening’s important and very prestigious Dog News/Purina awards party for the tops in the seven AKC Groups and the Achievement Awards. Also, in Manhattan, a celebration of life for our dearest Iris Love who won Westminster in 2012 and again in 2021—but she won our hearts for decades.
The pandemic was still present of mind, but wise exhibitors and club members navigated that threat brilliantly and, as they say, the show must go on. It did and was a success.
For me, the 146th was my 54th consecutive Westminster. And while many other dog people have a more impressive record, I’m earnestly looking forward to my 55th.