The best budding dogs (and their owners) will have to wait for the next annual Westminster dog show, according to the Kennel Club, highlighting the increase in COVID-19 cases in New York City.
The Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show, which usually begins in January, has become the latest event to be postponed or canceled in New York City as the number of coronavirus cases increases.
A record 82,350 new cases were reported in the state on Dec. 26, according to Johns Hopkins University, although that number fell to 47,100 on Tuesday.
The club announced Wednesday that its board of directors “has made the difficult decision” to postpone the 146th annual dog show to an undetermined later date in 2022, “due to the rise of the Omicron variant in New York.”
A new date would be announced once confirmed “when we can safely reunite,” the kennel club said.
The dog show attracts competitors mainly from the United States, but also from Canada and other countries of the world. The final event usually takes place in February at Madison Square Garden.
This year it was moved to June, to a waterfront estate in upstate New York, where it took place outdoors for the first time since its inception in 1877.
Spectators were not allowed and human participants had to be vaccinated or newly tested.
A Pekingese named Wasabi took home the Best Show Award, defeating a Whippet, French Bulldog, Old English Sheepdog, German Shorthair Pointer, West Highland White Terrier, and Samoyed.
WATCH | The winner of the Westminster 2021 Task Force has a connection to Toronto:
Wasabi’s grandfather, Malachy, won the title for Best Show in 2012.
The Samoyed, named Striker, won the task force at the 2021 show. Its owners, Marc Ralsky and Correen Pacht, live in Toronto.
The Westminster Kennel Club hosts the Westminster All Breed Dog Show, which is the second longest and longest running sporting event in the United States. The longest is the Kentucky Derby, launched in 1875.
“We appreciate the continued interest and support from the community as we postpone the show to a time when it is safe to reunite,” the kennel club said in its statement.
Other pandemic-induced changes in Big Apple events include a 75% reduced capacity for New Years celebrations in Times Square. Additionally, at least 12 Broadway shows have canceled performances, including Small jagged pill, which announced its final closure earlier in December.