Question of the Week
William K. Brokken, M.D.
Santa Barbara, California
It definitely added a degree of class to the event.
Capt. Jean L. Heath, USN (Ret.)
THE BEST WKC SHOW EVER, EVER, EVER! Wish I could have been there with an entry! And I wish the show would forever be held at this time of year in this or a similar location! Spectacular show site, outstanding TV coverage! All WKC and FOX people who ADAPTED to the circumstances and put this together need public recognition, as well as the professional and owner handlers who managed without power sources and grooming tents. My sincere compliments and praise for all of you. WELL DONE, MATES!
I realize it would be hard to replicate in February weather, but the location was wonderful. Beautiful green grass, sunshine and fresh air, with dogs relaxed and happy in X-pens next to their owners' vehicles, instead of cramped inside Madison Square Garden with people swarming all over them. I realize it was special circumstances, but I didn't miss the hordes of people at ringside, either.
I loved it in the bucolic environment.
Clinton Corners, New York
Really terrific! What a beautiful place ... with all the trimmings.
Thank you, David and David, and certainly the many “hands” that made it all happen. Whoever was in charge of weather gets the blue ribbon.
This year was my first Westminster experience, and I LOVED it. It was much less stressful for me than a trip into the city would have been. The atmosphere was still full of excitement and elegance, but relaxed at the same time. I was a little worried about the weather, but the rain held off and it turned into a perfect day. I would 110 percent go back!
Henderson Harbor, New York
Having been “involved” for a number of years, I thought I was well aware of the time and effort put forth by the show chairman, the club staff and the membership. I was wrong. Their collective efforts went well beyond what I had imagined.
Being somewhat restricted at the moment, my vantage point was from the shores of Lake Ontario. From early Saturday morning through 11 p.m. on Sunday, I was glued to my iPad and/or my TV. It was so easy to jump from Ring 1 to Ring 5 and back again if that’s what I wanted to see. I was relieved when the break began later on Saturday afternoon so I could bake a few minutes in the sun. Then I was right back at 7 p.m. and stayed until the end that night.
I wrote a friend at FOX and told her that as far as I was concerned, this was the best production of any of our shows to date. First of all, the venue – inside or out – was unbeatable. Simply spectacular. The key for me was the camera work. The best ever. I can only imagine how many teams it took to make this happen so effortlessly. The Groups on Saturday night were just wonderful. The best judges found the best dogs, and it was a win/win for everyone.
Sunday daytime was a duplicate of Saturday’s production except that I had an entry. I had my ring number memorized as well as the time. I was all set, and it worked like a charm. No sweat finding the ring or the judge, plus quite a few of my “old friends” at ringside. What a great time! I spent the rest of the day watching breeds that I was interested in and seeing dogs in the flesh (so to speak) that I had previously only seen on the pages of DN. Wonderful opportunity and, again, fabulous camera work. Things have come so far from the early days of TV production. The groups on Sunday did not disappoint, and again wonderful dogs came to the top.
Exactly at 10:30 p.m. my youthful-looking and wonderful-appearing Pat Trotter was escorted onto the floor by the WKC executives. She wasted no time, and with authority and a gentleness that was expected examined each dog. A brief chat of congratulations greeted each handler and, I know, put them at ease. She was their friend, and they hers. To the top came David and the spectacular Wasabi. So well deserved. Others may have had other choices, and they would be correct as well. The lineup was just that good. But this was Pat’s choice, and no one would ever question it. She made us all proud.
Thanks to so many: To the Westminster membership, to the Westminster staff, to all the judges, stewards and volunteers over both days who worked so well under these circumstances, to Lyndhurst and their staff, to the state, county and village authorities, to all of the exhibitors – the list goes on and on.
You can see that in this case, it certainly does take “more than a village.”
Baldwin Harbor, New York
I know some may not agree, but I wish weather was more predictable so WKC could move to this location on a permanent basis. The grounds are so majestic and the setting so perfect for our nation's most prestigious dog show.
Everyone seemed so relaxed compared with the hustle and bustle of the city, and smiles were aplenty. Bravo to all who made this day special and totally enjoyable.
I thought the indoor part was an exact replica of being at Madison Square Garden, but, frankly, it was a little hard getting used to watching OUTDOOR judging of the breeds. Switching from outdoor breed judging to the finals at Roland-Garros was confusing, but my hat's off to all the hard work that went into its creation.
Mill Neck, New York
The extraordinary effort to bring the event to the fancy was an undisputed success. This year’s show will be fondly remembered due to an amazing weekend weather-wise. The realist in me (and I live in the area) understands that for an outdoor event, that might not always be the case. The outdoor venue with added public might become complicated for exhibitors. I did miss a bit of the associated socializing that the winter date and location offer. As long as ring size can be calibrated to the breed’s requirements (which the Piers did provide), I look forward to Westminster being the NYC tradition it has been for more than 150 years.
I thought the venue was perfect. I have talked to people who were there, and it all seemed a lot less stressful and less crowded. And maybe less expensive?
People really enjoyed it. Even watching on TV, I thought it was beautifully done. I wish you could continue at Lyndhurst.
Television coverage of Westminster was fabulous. The location looked like the perfect backdrop for the show with the historical mansion in the background. A once-in-a-lifetime show for the exhibitors. I would have loved to have been able to attend, however, my circumstances did not allow for that. The coverage with the history of the mansion, the owners and the stories behind previous dog shows at this location was handled in a very tasteful, historical and beautiful manner. I don't know how it could have been done any better. The show committee should be commended for all their efforts and hard work in planning and executing this show.
That being said, outdoor shows are always very much up to chance. The weather cooperated for this show. Had it been raining, the effect and result could well have been different. The coated breeds would have not been seen to their best advantage, and the same can be said of the exhibitors.
The decision to hold the show outdoors at this lovely, historical site was the correct one for the circumstances the country is currently experiencing. Exhibitors were anxious for the chance to show off their dogs, but would that be the case if the show were continually held there? Probably not. Westminster is the show we all hope someday to be fortunate enough to attend, but it is a great expense for the small breeder/owner/handler. Most of us do not have the resources to allow us to attend the greatest dog show in the United States, the only show greater is Crufts, which again most of us are never able to achieve. Breeder/owner/handlers would be less likely to attend Westminster yearly if the possibility of bad weather was a factor.
Barring other unusual circumstances, the return to the traditional location should be the goal the show committee works toward. Madison Square Garden may not be as beautiful, but it is safer for people who have to expend great resources to attend.
Julie L. Mueller
Outdoor for Westminster. Of course, all of the old-time traditions were out the door. But elegantly escorted in was the most relaxed and heavenly Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Yes, heavenly for the dogs and the exhibitors. Big grass rings for the breed competitions, and then we moved into the indoor replica of the Madison Square Garden ring for the groups and Best in Show competition. We were given the best of both worlds, but with much better weather. The engineering for this show to become a reality was incredible.
It reminded me of the line from Kevin Costner's film “Field of Dreams”: "If you build it, they will come." From the dog's viewpoint, not having to be benched and plenty of grass to exercise was a plus. I know I join the entire dog fancy in our overwhelming appreciation to the Westminster Kennel Club and all the people involved who made this show come to life for the breeders, handlers and exhibitors.
I think the combination of ingenuity, hard work and beautiful weather made the event spectacular. Everyone who had the good fortune to attend will remember it as a show of a lifetime. The officers, members and all those involved are to be commended for all their hard work. Everyone did their best to meet all our needs and did so graciously with a smile. The evening venue was unbelievable; incredible that it was assembled so quickly! I loved the whole thing it; brought back great memories of the old Westchester shows held there – so lovely.
I just want to say keep this show outdoors and in the spring/summer. It was so relaxing to not bump elbows just trying to walk. The dogs were relaxed, as were the people. Thank you, Westminster Kennel Club – this was a great first-time experience for my dog!
I HOPE that Westminster is held at Lyndhurst from now on. The group rings were gorgeous and worked well on TV. The weather is much more conducive to the dogs, and the people, and more time can be spent outside. It's time to make Westminster comfortable and beautiful instead of freezing, cold and old.
This “show of shows” will go down as a triumph. The lovely grounds, spacious rings and re-created main ring show us all that we can preserve and conquer in trying times. The committee is to be congratulated, and the fancy is indebted to them. The detailed precision that distinguishes the Westminster Kennel Club as the best show in the world was on full display. Congratulations to all who worked to ensure the successful show.
Oyster Bay Cove, New York
Given the unprecedented challenges facing our world for the last year and a half, the Westminster Kennel Club and its entire team should be highly commended for putting on another terrific show. There is only one Westminster, and this year's show maintained the standard of excellence that we in the fancy expect.
The venue was a good one. The weather was outstanding. The extensive tenting provided cover in case the weather had not cooperated. While the show was a definite success, if the weather had not cooperated (extreme heat or rain), we would have been provided with a lesser view of many of the top dogs in the world. Also, the breed judging did not have quite the "mystique" of the Westminster in New York City.
With all the logistical challenges of New York City, the Westminster Kennel Club Show should be indoors in Madison Square Garden. For the future of our sport, we need the public's attendance at our premier show, and the Garden draws like no other venue.
Every single person who touched and worked on the plans and the execution of the Westminster Dog Show deserves a BLUE RIBBON! The show was beyond magnificent
From the elegance of the venue, the extraordinary and beautiful entry, the professional and caring handlers to the excitement of the participants, and the expert judging panel, it was magical.
Thank you all — I enjoyed every moment and applaud you all.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
I for one, loved the Tarrytown site for this year’s Westminster show. It was like a breadth of fresh air and not contrived, stilted or absurdly crowded. No, it was not benched, but after handling a Borzoi at that benched show, it imparts more stress on the handler and the dog.
Not having a benched show could be the interesting reason that the dogs were joyful. And while I loved to entertain the public and their questions ...
And was it my imagination, or did the exhibitors, handlers and, most importantly, the dogs seem more upbeat, more relaxed and enjoying the whole process? Personally, I will never understand the reasoning of having this show in freezing, icing, cold, miserable February in NYC. All I know is that in my limited experience, I saw real “this is how our sport should be portrayed to the public.”
I have been hearing the old question about bad weather. OK, this would present a problem, but if this magnificent club could create this magical show … then any issue can be solved with creative minds.
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Well done. In typical Westminster fashion, very, very well done!
Thomas Alan Kloss
Southern Pines, North Carolina
Fantastic accomplishment for such a radical change of venue. Going from indoor winter show to an outdoor summer show appeared seamless. From this armchair spectator’s perspective: “outstanding.”
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
One can only say the WKC show chairmen and committee pulled off a miracle! The venue for groups was elegant and dynamic, yet comfortable. The judging area was great, very dog friendly and accommodating. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, which added to the wonder of it all. The “coming out party” after being cooped up for more than a year was overwhelmingly favorable in all aspects! Bravo, WKC!
Positives for me as a television viewer: Dogs appear to be more relaxed. The outdoor setting is attractive for the breed judging. And Best in Show and groups were impressive in the tent, which had all the hallmarks of tradition.
Negatives: The public could not view the dogs, but a benched show is very tiring on the dogs. I don’t know how the handlers felt about the lack of grooming space. Nevertheless, the dogs were immaculate.
Aside from the location, the television coverage was the best I’ve observed. Best of all: Westminster NOT being in February with uncertain weather, potentially dangerous travel, cancelled flights, icy sidewalks and streets, and the need to pack bulky clothing when your dog’s items already take up so much space.
New York and Madison Square Garden are indeed the tradition, but could the show be held in the spring instead of the winter?
Tradition is sacred – or is it?
Westminster is not Westminster without New York City! Dog people come from all over the world to go to Westminster in the incomparable New York City. This year’s show was beautiful, but take away everything that said Westminster and what you have is a lovely outdoor show.
Port Townsend, Washington
Having done Westminster in 2012, it makes a lot more sense to do it outdoors, out of the city, and not in the dead of freaking winter. It’s more like a regular dog show, much less stressful for the dogs and handlers.
What an awesome setting!
Fox, for the first time, did a great job with the commentary and color (you still need to find the next David Frei). They also devoted time to the history of Westminster, the estate and its area. Nice intros and outros, too.
I think there were more people laughing and smiling than I’ve seen at a dog show in YEARS. I sure don’t miss the pressure-cooker environment. I loved it and wish we could do it there occasionally in the future.
Just another outdoor show, until the group/BIS ring. That was spectacular!
John F. Martin, Jr.
Westminster Kennel Club at the Garden and the Piers had all the pluses of New York City: the crowds, the intensity, the tradition. It also had the expense, the confusion, the weather and assorted other minuses associated with being in a congested concrete metropolis in the middle of winter. WKC at Tarrytown lacked the history and the crowds, but seemingly was not afflicted with the minuses that could beset WKC in Manhattan.
Timing is everything. The February show was seen as the capstone to the previous year. Held in June, it could be the foundation stone for the remainder of the year. Take your pick.
Due to COVID, WKC now has the option of considering whether to return to the Piers and the Garden in 2022 or to tarry in Tarrytown for another year and see how the fancy supports the move to a summer show. Westminster in the great outdoors in June? At least talk it over.
One thing remains certain: Regardless of location, Westminster will always be Westminster. A win there will always be like no other.
King Ferry, New York
I LOVED it! The venue was beautiful, dogs move better on grass, and I believe it was less stressful on dogs and handlers. (NYC is a fun place to visit ... but maybe not so much for dogs.)
The video work was extraordinary. I loved the closeups on breed judging and the focus on setting up for a video image before the actual photo for those of us at home. The club should consider moving to an outdoor location permanently.
New Market, Alabama
I wish it was always held outdoors. It was a lovely venue. Fox did a wonderful job covering. I think it was the best Westminster ever. NYC in winter is crazy and dangerous. Please hold in early summer outdoors moving forward.
IMPRESSIVE! SURREAL! I would be thrilled to have gone to the show this year. It seemed gorgeous and regal and just what is needed to bring the sport back to the breeders, and quality dog owners. I have been to the Garden in the past, and it would be a major move if they considered having the show here again, and or any other future shows would be worth the journey.
Windham, New York
Westminster 2021 was my seventh Westminster as an exhibitor, and it was hands down THE BEST Westminster experience I have ever had. I sincerely hope that the club gets enough feedback to consider this weekend and location for a future, PERMANENT site of the prestigious show. It was far less stressful for the dogs and humans, and the location could not have been more beautiful. I remember showing at the Lyndhurst estate with the Westchester Kennel Club years ago and always loved it. I hope that the club considers being open-minded about shifting away from the NYC location after hearing the positive feedback from the weekend.
Two thumbs up. Westminster KC did a tremendous job. Outdoors was very relaxed compared to the city. Parking is a challenge at either venue, but the grass and set up next to your vehicle is a big perk. Weather cooperated this time. That could be the only problem. I heard some complaints prior to the show in regards to showing both toys and terrier breeds, but the Pekingese did prevail.
The air-conditioned tents appeared comfortable and of course the estate grounds were lovely. Everybody I knew who went wished it could stay there. I wonder, though, how much of a different experience it would be for all concerned if the usual spectators were allowed.
Patrica Collins Briasco
The presentation was very beautiful, elegant and reminiscent of days gone by. The Lyndhurst mansion in all its splendor, the mighty Hudson and the Tappan Zee Bridge made for a lovely backdrop and presentation. The camera work was the best I have seen yet. I would love to see this venue continued in the future.
I loved the relaxing atmosphere, beautiful grounds, outdoor environment and space for dogs to be exercised. The shuttles were fantastic, and no benching was awesome.
The negatives: Grass was too tall for small breeds and the rings had multiple holes that could have resulted in injury. The Palm Springs shows have the ideal grass grounds.
I thought Westminster was just perfect in Tarrytown! Even with all the restrictions, it was much easier than going into Manhattan. The dogs get to be on the beautiful grass under trees or tents, eliminating a lot of the stress that comes with the usual show.
I loved it, you couldn’t beat the beautiful scenery and backdrop of a castle and the Hudson River. I know Madison Square Garden has its “mystique” and tradition, but NYC in February isn’t exactly the most “wonderful time of the year.” Never mind the noise, the grime and the traffic one must fight to get to MSG. I would have raced to the Lyndhurst estate if they opened it to spectators.
I am just an owner-handler with one dog to deal with, but how the professionals dealt with this show is beyond me! The parking was in a FIELD, so why there could not have been RVs is beyond me. You could hardly see the main house from the show grounds, so how was parking on the grass going to impact the grounds? I was president of a historical society for 17 years, so I understand the importance of respecting the site, but this show was about the DOGS, right? A more dog-friendly site should have been chosen!
There were no vendors that I could find other than Embark, Home Depot carpet, the AKC microchip thing and AKC stuff, which ran out of things to sell. What happened if you ran out of something for the DOGS?
Also, the people at the entrance gates in the ORANGE shirts made the people and dogs who were getting rides WAIT ON THE STREET – wow, that is really safe for dogs and people! The traffic was loud and busy, and any car that had to pull over while the dog/person loaded up their stuff was taking their lives in their hands!
Williamstown, West Virginia
I had an English Springer Spaniel bitch entered. I have NEVER been before, BECAUSE I don’t want to fight the madness of NYC, and the day I got the email telling me it was moved for this year, I made hotel reservations. I would go to Westminster every year in this setting! I would really appreciate it more if we could be there both days, but I suspect that double the people would make it a lot different. Even different, it would be so much easier than what I have heard of navigating NYC, especially for someone older who has trouble walking distances.
I appreciated the golf cart shuttle service. It would have been unmanageable for me without that. My driver was so charming! I wish they had small golf carts for rent so you could get where you wanted when you wanted. Again, I would come every year you held it in this venue! Next time, arrange a bus tour through Sleepy Hollow! That would be great for history’s sake!
Retired Show Photographer
I thought it was a class presentation in a beautiful location at a nice time of the year, well covered by FOX Sports. Forget MSG in February.
Fanning Springs, Florida
I never expected the grounds and show site to look so beautiful, including the lovely group and Best in Show rings. Had we attended, this would have been my 38th consecutive year of Westminster. I wish now I would have been there for this one show. That being said, I still prefer the city and all that goes with it.
I loved Westminster this year. The WKC did an excellent job maintaining the elegance we usually associate with Westminster. The grounds were beautiful, and every detail was attended to. I must say, as an exhibitor it was much easier to attend than at the piers. Parking was easy, and everything was beautifully set up. I stayed for groups and even got home at a reasonable time! I really had a wonderful experience!
I don’t care where it is, I’ll go. It’s the top, never-to-be-missed show of the year – a U.S. “national treasure”!