Westminster Dog Show!

Westminster Dog Show!

How did I live to be this old before realizing what fabulous television this is? I dropped the dogs off this morning to be cleaned up — it’s been a long winter and they were shaggy and dirty — and Barb, the dog groomer, mentioned that tonight was the sporting dog division (as my boys were, uncharacteristically, sitting and being attentive). So this afternoon, I checked out the USA network, and last night’s dog show was on during the afternoon.

Who knew? I LOVE the dog show. The dogs are so fabulous (although the handlers, as a group, need a visit from the Queer Eye guys — really, no need for your white slip to be flapping through the slit in your lovely navy blue dress — and while clearly, one needs to wear flats in order to run the dogs, there *must* be more attractive flats out there). At any rate — I grew up at horse shows, and so spent most of my formative years being taught to look at animals and see how they meet breed standards, and what is gorgeous about them. I LOVE the dog show. The dogs are so marvelous –even breeds I don’t particularly care for — one can see why *that* is a perfect example of a Whippet, while *that* is an astonishing-looking German shepherd.

I’m hooked. I’ve been calling everyone I know tonight who grew up around horse shows to tell them that I’ve gone over to the dog show side … and now, I must sign off, because it’s time for Best in Show. I’m rooting for that fabulous Norfolk terrier I saw this afternoon — my mother had a marvelous Norfolk Terrier when we were growing up — hated all children except for us — in memory of Gillie, I’m rooting for the Norfolk.

8 thoughts on “Westminster Dog Show!

  1. The only thing that caught my eye on the front page of the NYT this morning? The picture of the dog that won. ‘Alas, not the Norfolk!’ I thought in your honor. Although I confess a secret weakness for bird dogs (probably from reading too much Jim Harrison).

  2. Well, that was a gorgeous pointer who won — although shorthairs are famous for bolting — I know more people than not who’ve spent hours and hours chasing their beloved shorthairs across hill and dale. Have you read Rick Bass’s book, Colter? It’s about his beloved shorthair who went missing … and since French Brittany’s like my beloved boys aren’t yet a recognized AKC breed, I guess we’ll have to be happy with a shorthair.

  3. I believe “dowdy” is in the dog handler’s dress code.

    But it is fun to watch the dog shows. I sit & make lists of all the dogs I’d like to have someday.

  4. Love your blog and I hate to mention this but there is a dark side to the dog shows (besides the handlers!). The dogs are often bred based on things that have little to do with there temperament as pets.

    Often the traits they breed for are actually the opposite of what one would want in a pet (they want “lively/alert” dogs for shows and this often means high-strung hyper pets). The problem is that for every one dog that makes it to big shows thousands are bred and sold as pets. You can guess what happens to the “lively” pet when it is no longer a puppy and the owners don’t raise or understand the dog properly.

    I suppose the human equivalent would be breeding a bunch of J-Lo’s.

    Not to say that most breeders don’t love the dogs and take great care in breeding for temperament as well as physical beauty. But just like other fields the hyper-competitive, “winning is the only thing” people tend to force the race to the bottom.

    BTW, I am a regular reader and have wanted to ask for advice on a cooking book (or a sure path to cooking glory!). I’m a part time stay-at-home dad and on the nights that I cook it pretty much sucks for all involved. I have 4 kids and they are picky and one won’t eat meat … and my wife is a vegetarian. ANY advice would be well-appreciated.

  5. Having grown up in the world of competitive show jumping, I’m well aware of the dangers of overbreeding. It’s one of the reasons I chose French Brittanies rather than American ones — they’re a semi-neglected breed, which means there’s still some genetic diversity there, and hence they’re not quite so high-strung (well, one of my dogs is strung pretty tight, but the other is really mellow and sweet). As for cookbooks — I really learned to cook from James Beard’s “Theory and Practice of Good Cooking” and “The New James Beard” (I’m not sure if they’re still in print though). My #1`go-to cookbook is Patricia Wells “Bistro Cooking” — I’ve never had a recipe not turn out like it said it would and for the most part they’re simple and you can make them with what’s already in your pantry. For vegetarians, Marlene Spieler’s “The Vegetarian Bistro” might be a good choice, as would the Moosewood cookbooks. My other two favorites are the late great Laurie Colwin’s two books: Home Cooking, and More Home Cooking. As my mother used to famously say, there’s no excuse for not knowing how to cook, if you can read, you can cook!

  6. Does anyone have a video tape of this year’s show? I have a friend who is a big fan of this show but she couldn’t watch it because she doesn’t have cable; I promised to tape it for her but my VCR went funky and my tape is completely blank. She’s about to enter hospice care, and she would really really like to see the show. She’s even been avoiding hearing the news about who won. If you can help, or know anybody who can help, please email me at emerdavid [at] earthlink [dot] net. Thanks.

  7. I totally agree with you about the Dog Show.

    A True highlight, and I rooted for the Bull Terrier, (I am biased).

    I enjoyed your writing about the Norfolk.

    Sorrt it did not win.

    am looking into blogging, it is a wonderful way of letting loose and spreading wide.


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