Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is upon us! Dogs and their owners and handlers are grooming, preparing, and competing in New York. It's safe to assume a dog show schedule is hectic for owners and handlers, but we didn't realize just how hectic. We recently got that answer from breeder/owner/handler and dog show expert Brenda Algar.
"If you're a handler, you probably start the day around 6 in the morning," she said. She added that it's typically much more work for a professional handler who has five to 10 dogs in any given show. Grooming a dog can take upwards of two hours each, especially if it's a dog with long hair, so Algar said in between grooming the dogs they might go show one of the dogs with short hair that doesn't require lengthy grooming.
"Then you run to the ring and you do your thing, and then you come back to your setup and you either grab another dog or you are working on another dog that you have to have in the ring 20 minutes from now," she said.
This will go on all morning and into the afternoon through the breed judging. If your dog makes it to group judging, the day continues. If your dog wins the group, your day continues to best in show judging, which can go until 9 p.m. or later. Then you still have to clean up from the day and maybe even bathe the dogs.
If you've come to a show as an owner, however, you may just have one or two dogs. Your day can end up very different if your dogs don't win the breed.
"I might get up at 4 a.m., drive two to three hours to a show, set up, and do my thing, but if I don't win, I just get back in the car and drive two to three hours back," Algar said. Owner handlers, which are those who own the dogs they're handling, can end up spending most of the weekend in the car driving rather than being at a show.
When it comes to Westminster, though, the schedule is even more drawn out, because events start on Saturday and run through Tuesday night. And we'll keep you posted on all of it!