According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Sporting dogs are naturally alert and make likable, well-rounded companions. Members of the Group include spaniels, settlers, retrievers and pointers. The Sporting dogs have strong instincts in water, woods and fields. The breeds that will be competing on Tuesday include, among others, the American Water Spaniel, the Cocker Spaniel, the Golden Retriever and the Vizsla.
Working dogs will also be featured on Tuesday. These dogs have been historically used by man to perform essential tasks like guarding property, pulling sleds or performing rescues. The Working dogs are fast learners, intelligent, capable and good companions. However, they need to be properly trained. The group includes, among others, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Boxer, the Doberman Pinscher, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the Mastiff, the Rottweiler and the Siberian Husky.
Terrier dogs will also be judged in Tuesday's competition. Terriers have a range of personalities and are feisty, energetic dogs. They come in a variety of sizes and usually have little tolerance for other animals and dogs. The dogs were used historically to hunt and kill vermin. Many terriers have wirey coats and require special grooming that will come under the scrutiny of the judges. The group includes, among others, the Border Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the newly-recognized Cesky Terrier, the Manchester Terrier, the Skye Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier.
The Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups competed Monday in a fierce show of temperament, gait, coat and presence. Judges determined the winners of the groups late Monday.
Known for their keen sense of smell and stamina in chasing prey, the Hound dogs were a large and competitive group. A three-year-old Wire-Haired Dachshund named Raydachs Playing With Fire V Gleishorbach won the Best of Hounds group.
Unlike Hounds, Toy dogs are tiny and popular for city dwellers. Despite their small stature, they are tough as nails. A four-year-old Pekingese named Palacegarden Malachy won the prize for Best of Toys.
The Non-Sporting group offers a variety of breeds. Historically, the AKC organized breeds by sporting and non-sporting. While there are seven groups today, the Non-Sporting group is a remnant of the older division and offers an eclectic mix of canines. An almost five-year-old Dalmatian named Spotlights Ruffian won the award for Best of Non-Sportings.
The last group, the Herding dogs, was composed of intelligent breeds known best for herding or controlling animals. While many Herding dogs today do not live on farms, the dogs will often gently nudge their owners or herd small children. The nearly 5-year-old German Shepherd named Babheim's Captain Crunch won the award of Best of Herdings.
The seven winners of Best in Group will compete in the Best in Show competition late Tuesday. The Best in Show competition will be judged by Cindy Vogels of Greenwood Village, Colo. Vogels will preside over a panel of 38 judges from 19 states.
Overall, the Wesminster Dog Show features 2,077 dogs and 105 Junior Showmanship entries. Dogs in 185 breeds come from 47 states across the United States, with the most entries coming from New York, California and Pennsylvania.
At the prestigious show, Rhodesian Ridgebacks had the greatest number of entries with 40 dogs and French Bulldogs were in a close second at 39 entries. There were 38 Labrador Retrievers competing, 32 Golden Retrievers and 29 Vizslas. The smallest entry was two and occured in five breeds, including American Water Spaniels, Harriers, Kuvaszok, Sealyham Terriers and Canaan Dogs.
Six of the breeds featured in the Westminster Dog Show are newly recognized and were competing for the first time in the show. The new breeds include: American English Coonhounds (three entries in Hound Group), Cesky Terries (three entries in Terrier Group), Norwegian Lundehunds (five entries in the non-sporting group), Xoloitzcunitlis (ten entries in the non-sporting group), Entlebucher Mountain dogs (four entries in the herding group) and Finnish Lapphunds (eight entries in the herding group).
None of the newly recognized breeds have won a Best of Group award thus far in the competition.