SHOWSIGHT congratulates Dr. Donald G Sturz as he begins his new position as President of Westminster Kennel Club.
You are following in the footsteps of Westminster’s notable leading men, including Peter Van Brunt, Chester (Chet) Collier, and William Rockefeller. How does it feel?
Dr. Donald Sturz: When put in those terms, it is incredibly humbling. I have tremendous respect for the many great leaders who have been in this seat. I am committed to carrying on the well-established traditions that are associated with Westminster Kennel Club. It will be important to pursue continued evolution while maintaining the essence that sets Westminster apart as the world’s premiere dog show event.
As a New Yorker, does the club’s iconic show hold special significance for you?
Dr. Donald Sturz: I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up with the iconic Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as my “local” show. I haven’t missed a single show in the past 50 years. It’s an ingrained part of me and I am extremely grateful to have had the magic of Westminster set the standard of excellence for me throughout my life.
How has your experience as an exhibitor, judge, analyst, and co-host of Westminster’s live telecast prepared you for your newest role?
Dr. Donald Sturz: Having experienced Westminster through a variety of roles has provided me with a uniquely diverse and well-rounded first-hand perspective. This will serve me well in supporting the club and the staff in the planning and preparation for each event. Westminster has had to pivot several times over the years to accommodate a variety of factors necessitating changes in venues and dates. However, the club never fails to create the Westminster magic.
Do you have a personal Westminster memory that encapsulates what this show means to purebred dog breeders, owners, and exhibitors?
Dr. Donald Sturz: We all have so many Westminster memories! The excitement of just showing a dog there is the most universal one. The flood of memories shared by breeders, owners, and exhibitors on social media is a testament to the significance the show holds within the sport.
Over the years I, like many others, have memories of the joy and exhilaration of wins and the disappointments of dreams unfulfilled. Personally, I never forget the anticipatory anxiety I have experienced every year regardless of the way in which I participated. No other dog show generates the intensity of that feeling for me because of the importance Westminster holds for me.
How do you envision the future of Westminster and the sport of dogs?
Dr. Donald Sturz: I am optimistic about the future of the sport of dogs. There are certainly challenges of which we need to remain mindful, but all are surmountable through commitment and vigilance. Adapting, remaining relevant, and engaging new participants will be key for sustaining the future of the sport.
Westminster will always be a beacon within the sport of dogs. It will always steadfastly champion excellence in purpose-bred dogs and celebrate the essential, unbreakable bond of love between humans and dogs.
Featured photo: Dr. Donald G. Sturz, WKC President (left), and David A. Helming, WKC Co-Show Chairman