The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the Academy Awards of the canine world. Yesterday, I attended Westminster as the guest of two Miamians who were showing Chinese Crested pedigreed pups there, Mary and Jolie Dreiling. This mother-daughter duo flew all the way in from Miami in a blizzard to compete with their two dogs, Ace and Pippi.
This year, the 137th installment of Westminster, the show was held at both Madison Square Garden and Piers 92 and 94 on the West Side of Manhattan. I spent the day with the toy breeds: Yorkshire Terriers (I have two), Chihuahuas, Maltese, Pekingese and, of course, Chinese Crested. These are some of the most coddled canines you will ever see with decorated cages, squeaky toys galore, oversized bows, organic treats and more hair products than at Frederic Fekkai.
Seriously, these dogs were flatironed, hairsprayed and did up with some serious coiffure style. One of my friends joked to me that the dogs take longer to get ready than she does. And the owners/handlers are just as dressed up. I saw more hot pink ensembles (with matching hot pink ballet flats) than I ever care to recount. Plus, some hairdos that haven’t been hip since 1986 (if even then). Dog shows are truly a subculture onto their own. I’ve watched the movie Best In Show several times, but now I have lived it!
When it came time for the Chinese Crested competition, about 40 of the best of the breed sauntered around the ring and were inspected by the tuxedo-clad judge. It’s a bit anticlimactic actually, but the real highlight is when the handler and dog run around the ring with complete confidence and synchronicity. I have no clue what the judge was looking for, and the Chinese Crested category is more diverse than say that of Malteses. There are hairless Chinese Crested, all white ones and some with brown streaks. I also heard audience members oohing and ahhing over terms like fine boned and fringe. Okay!
Unfortunately, neither Mary nor Jolie made the cut to proceed further at Westminster. But Jolie did place high, getting past the first elimination, which is remarkable for an 11-year-old competing against adults at her first Westminster. I have a feeling she’ll be in the winner’s circle in the next few years.
As for me, I can’t wait to flatiron my two Yorkies!