Inside The Ring: What It Means To Show At Westminster

wkc day 1

The honor that comes with showing a dog at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show presented by Purina® Pro Plan® is unparalleled. Even if they don't come home with a ribbon, many exhibitors are thrilled just to be there. So just what does it mean to step into the ring at Westminster? We asked a few exhibitors their thoughts and how the show is different than others, here are their answers:

"It's a breeder's dream, as well as a dream for owners and professional handlers, and winning is a pinnacle of their breeding program." -- Dennis Sprung, president and CEO of the AKC, at his 48th consecutive Westminster

"After being in dogs for 15 years, and breeding my first litter in 2014, [showing a dog I bred at Westminster] means a whole lot." -- Breeder/handler

"It's a thrill." -- Exhibitor

"There's a lot of prestige, but we're just here for the fun and for the experience ... there are so many cameras and so much publicity [at Westminster]." -- Exhibitor

"[What makes Westminster different is] that it's a benched show -- spectators can come and see the dogs." -- Exhibitor

“There is truly nothing like it: a packed venue, television cameras, the full press section. All eyes are on one single thing - the competition in that ring at that moment," - Judge Michael Dougherty who selected Purina® Pro Plan® Performance-fed Banana Joe as Best In Show in 2013.

"[The show is] just wonderful, it's amazing. [What made me want to come here] is the reputation of the show. I started showing last March and [the goal was] to qualify for Westminster. The benching is completely different [than other shows], and the scale is completely different." -- First-time exhibitor

"I'm 63 and [Westminster] has been on my bucket list, so I bought [my dog] out of retirement just to compete here." -- First-time exhibitor

"I wanted the opportunity to show in this environment... the camaraderie, the excitement [make Westminster different] ... and being in New York brings out the adventure." -- First-time exhibitor

"It's the Super Bowl of dog shows... it's an honor to be here." -- Exhibitor

"It's a lot of work. It's lovely to come and win but it gives us a chance to see people who we only see once a year.... and you get to go shopping [in New York]. I absolutely love [showing in the city], I'm a country girl." -- Exhibitor


Header image: Jack Grassa/WKC

Scenes from Day 1:

 wkc day 1 - pomeranian

wkc day 1

wkc day 1


borzoi WKC hound group
Purina® Pro Plan® Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach-fed CH Belisarius Jp My Sassy Girl
won the Hound group. Photo: Steve Surfman/WKC
shih tzu wkc 2016 toy group
Purina® Pro Plan® Performance 30/20 Chicken & Rice-fed GCH Wenrick's Don't Stop Believing
won the Toy group. Photo: Jack Grassa
bulldog wkc nonsporting group
Purina® Pro Plan® Active 26-16 Sport Chicken & Rice-fed GCH Imperious Hamitup Southern Bell
won the Non-Sporting group. Photo: Jack Grassa.
gsd wkc 2016
Purina® Pro Plan® Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice-fed
GCH Lockenhaus' Rumor Has It V Kenlyn won the Herding group. Photo: Jack Grassa


Updates from Day 2:



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