Why Was the Peke Excused, What is With the Poodle Cut, and More Westminster Questions

Got some questions about the Westminster Dog Show Kennel Club? Post them below, and we'll do our best to answer them. Here are some of the top inquiries we've gotten already.

Many questioned why the Pekingese was excused from the ring on Monday night

Announcer David Frei explained what happened toward the end of the Toy Group judging:

“The Peke was a young dog and didn’t really care for all the commotion and the owner asked to be excused and was.”

General is only two years old. When asked if this is something that happens often in dog shows, Frei responded:

“It can happen from time to time. You’ve got to do what’s right for your dog. If your dog’s not enjoying it, don’t force it.”

In the end the Shih Tzu won the Toy Group.


What's up with that Poodle cut?

What you might think is a silly haircut is actually paying homage to the breed’s original job. Poodles used to work in the water, so the heavy coat was shaved from the bottom of the body so that the dogs didn’t have difficulty swimming. The “poofs” of hair on the body are meant to protect the organs and the joints. This cut is called the Continental Clip. You’ll see some Poodles sporting a “muffin top,” or pompons left on the hips of the shaved hindquarters. In the Continental clip, “muffins” are optional. (Not to be confused with the Continental breakfast, in which muffins are essential.) 

Last night, Flame the Poodle won the Non-Sporting Group.


Why no mixed-breeds?

Showing dogs is the rare sport that serves a higher purpose—it’s not a beauty contest, rather it’s a way to maintain and improve the integrity of the breeds. Judges are comparing each dog to its breed standard, which is created by the breed club (that’s why it’s called a “conformation” show—it’s an exhibition of dogs conforming to their breed standard). So we're not throwing shade on dogs that are a mix of several breeds—it's just that they don’t conform to a specific standard, so there’s nothing to judge them against.

Also important to note is that beneath the glamour, competition, and showmanship, a dog show is essentially an exhibition of breeding stock. So, it wouldn’t make sense to hold conformation dog shows featuring mixed-breeds, purebreds without pedigrees, and purebreds incapable of reproducing.

But that doesn’t mean AKC doesn’t love your mixed-breed, too! Get involved in AKC activities by signing up for our Canine Partners program. Learn more here.