The Westminster Kennel Club show starts Monday. I have to admit I was rather confused about that because I had marked our DVR to record the show on Sunday and then watched the Today Show on Sunday morning and saw they featured dogs that would be in the show on Monday.
I went and checked the recordings I had marked and discovered that the show they were broadcasting was from the 2012 show. It's not that it really matters. I watch dog shows (Eukanuba, Croft, Westminster) like I watch cooking shows. I don't intend to ever do anything fancy with octopus, offal, or monkey brains but I like watching others create something. Likewise, this may be the kind of dog that we have around...
and I may think that judging dogs based on their appearance and conformation, as opposed to their abilities, like in agility trials, is kind of silly, but I still enjoy just looking at all the breeds that exist in the world. And, since I don't know one dog from another, it doesn't really matter whether I am watching 2012's potential champions or 2013's.
I went to my first (and, I believe, only) dog show when I was a kid at the peak of my collie period. Because of my sister's allergies, we couldn't have a dog (and then the first thing she did when she moved out was to buy a dog!), so I had to content myself with living the dog life vicariously through books, movies, and TV.
I had devoured the "Lad a Dog" books and was a fan of Lassie on TV and my mother took me to the dog show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco because Lassie (whose name was really Pal and who was really a male) was going to perform.
I still remember what fun it was to wander around all the backstage parts and see all the dog breeds, watch them being groomed. And of course the highlight of that day was going off to the bathroom and coming down some back stairs to get back to my seat and running into Lassie and owner/trainer Rudd Weatherwax on their way to the arena. I got an up close and personal with Lassie, who, if I remember correctly, kissed me.
I spent 2 hours with Westminster this evening (and then gave it up for Downton Abbey but will watch the end of the recording later). It was fun watching how silly all the women in their 2-piece skirt/jacket suits and flat shoes were. I can never see the hound group running around without remember Christopher Guest and his bloodhound loping around the ring in the wonderful Best in Show, and I was appalled at how ghastly some of the judges (one female judge in particular) looked, like she'd rummaged in the discard bin and chose a top and a bottom that did not go together at all and looked like it had never been ironed.
I loved how the announcers always looked at these "jowly" dogs and say something to the effect that they are great dogs, for someone who isn't averse to a little drool. My goddaughter and her husband have Newfoundlands and I know for a fact that owners of jowly dogs have to contend with far more than "a little" drool!
I always look for the Komondor.
And wonder how in the world they take care of that fur. I would think everyone would love to have this dog. Put it on its back and run it up and down the hallway to mop the floor!
Everyone knows the Portuguese Water Dog now because of the White House dog, but the one they had trotting around the ring today was shaved like a poodle
Actually this wasn't the dog I saw, because that dog had the tight curls that you associate with the Portuguese Water Dog, but this is the cut on the body. I swear the dog looked embarrassed.
Ultimately the Pekinese, my least favorite of the 7 finalists won. It looked like a tribble with a face, and was cute, but I loved the Doberman...and I don't even particularly like Dobermans, but Fifi was spectacular. Which is why I don't judge dog shows.
I no longer watch these things for the "vicarious thrill" of seeing dogs. I usually watch with at least one dog in my lap. But it's still fun to see the dogs, to see the new offbeat breeds, to learn interesting factoids about some of them (which I immediately forget, of course) and to be glad that I don't have to worry about the grooming of those beautiful long-haired dogs!