Calling all dog show fans! The 146th Annual Westminster Dog Show presented by Purina Pro Plan is fast approaching. This year’s festivities include a Vet of the Year award, an Oscar-worthy purple carpet (the official color of Westminster) and, most importantly, two breeds making their Westminster debut alongside hidden gems. We got the scoop on this year’s show from Westminster Kennel Club communications director Gail Miller Bisher, who thinks there really is “a dog breed for everyone”.
Although the two breeds making their debuts at Westminster this year are new to the dog show scene, both have been around for quite some time. One is a Hungarian Sheepdog and the other is a Russian Little Companion.
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Height: 15-19 inches
Lester: 18-29 pounds
Personality: Energetic, smart
Activity level: High
Wastage factor: Down
Life expectancy: 12-14 years old
Mudis (technically the plural is Mudik in their native Hungary) are herding dogs. Miller Bisher says this means they make great pets because they are very easy to train and love to learn. In fact, she says, herders and trainers often remark on the Mudi’s ability to pick up signals and tasks faster than other herding breeds. Since Mudis have to contend with Hungarian gray cattle, large animals with intimidating horns that can grow up to 31 inches long, they are incredibly brave and energetic.
Another very attractive Mudi feature is their self-cleaning coat. Miller Bisher calls it a “wash-n-wear” coat because its curls and waves naturally repel dirt buildup. (That doesn’t mean you can forego baths altogether, though!)
Height: 8-11 inches
Lester: 6-7 pounds
Temperament: Lively, affectionate
Wastage factor: Moderate
Activity level: Moderate
Life expectancy: 12-14 years old
The second puppy competing for Best in Show for the first time at Westminster is the Russian Toy. Obviously, these puppies are from Russia. They look like a cross between a Chihuahua and a Papillon, although they were actually descended from English Toy Terriers introduced to Russian aristocracy in the 18th century. They come in smooth and long haired varieties and have ears for days. A Russian toy’s job was to keep its guardians company and alert them to strangers who might have gotten too close. Today, this protective but cheerful attitude remains. Miller Bisher says these little dogs excel in agility and obedience trials.
New Events at Westminster 2022
Finally, a few special events are taking place in Westminster this year. For the first time, in partnership with Trupanion, the Westminster Kennel Club is presenting a Vet of the Year award to a veterinarian who goes above and beyond when caring for animals. The recipient, chosen by online voters, is Dr. Joseph Rossi of North Penn Animal Hospital. A $10,000 donation in Dr. Rossi’s name will go to MightyVet, an organization that helps veterinary professionals struggling with mental health issues find the support they need and continue their education.
Dr. Rossi, along with surprise celebrities and a ton of dogs, will be part of another special event this year: the purple carpet. Think of it like the Oscars red carpet, but with more dogs and less ego. Plus, this year’s show will be simulcast on FOX Deportes, the largest Spanish-speaking channel in the United States!
This year’s show kicks off Saturday, June 18, 2022 at 8 a.m. EST with the Masters Agility Championship. For a taste of this event, check out Pixel, a Miniature American Shepherd, killing the agility course in 2019, on Westminster’s Instagram page. The events will be streamed for free all week on the club’s website until and including the Best in Show event on Wednesday June 22, 2022.
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