So far, four finalists have been selected. These fine specimens will be joined by three others for Wednesday evening’s final, where an exceptional dog will be crowned best in show.
Now, on to the dogs! The WKC recognizes 211 different dog breeds, and the goal of the competition is to find the dogs that most adhere to their breed’s standards (hence all the scrutiny). The show’s finalists each represent the best of seven different groups of dog breeds: herding, hunting dog, non-sporting, terrier, toy and working. While the four dogs already set to head to the final may vary in size, two virtues unite them: they’re all very good at being the types of dogs they are, and they all have great names.
Bloodhounds are “one of the oldest breeds of dogs that hunt by scent,” according to Westminster Kennel Club classifications. A discovery by a trained bloodhound can even be used in court! The American Kennel Club describes the Bloodhound’s ideal expression as “noble and dignified, and characterized by solemnity, wisdom, and power.” The trumpet nailed it.
Non-sporting group: Winston (French bulldog)
Oh Winston. A classic French Bulldog name for a classic guy. According to the WKC, Frenchies don’t have many useful skills. But they make up for it by being cute. “Most French Bulldogs excel at being friendly, loving clowns whose raison d’etre is to be adored,” reads their breed description. Winston’s smiling little face certainly got him far. (Plus, one of Winston’s owners is an NFL defensive lineman! That counts as a skill for him, right?)
Toy Group: Hollywood (Maltese)
Hollywood seems to think she’s better than everyone else, and she’s right. Toy dogs are bred for human companionship and luxury tricks. The description of the WKC Maltese breed states that they have been popular pets among royalty for centuries, due to their “elegance and beauty”. Hollywood, star that she is, beat several other toy beauties, including Porsche, the first Russian toy dog to advance to the semi-finals.
Breeding group: River (German Shepherd)
German Shepherds are favorites of the breeder group, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are they extremely intelligent and enthusiastic, but they can be trained to work in law enforcement and the military. And yet, the WKC points out that they are also family friendly and make excellent service dogs. A German Shepherd named Rumor won the WKC’s Best in Show award in 2017. Can River compete for a repeat?
Wednesday evening will determine the finalists for the terrier, hunting and working groups. But only one of the last seven can be the best dog!