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A Breed Of Their Own: Backstage at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2010

February 16, 2010

I discovered a couple of years ago…that tuning in to the Westminster Dog Show was not my dirty little secret alone. Oh no…it has quite the following and is one of the most popularly televised shows in the US with viewership reaching into the millions. ‘Westminster’, as it’s commonly referred to, is held every year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s first show was back in 1877.

I was able to get backstage or rather the ‘benching’ area where the dogs are kenneled, groomed and generally fussed over until they are ‘on’ and it’s their turn to enter the ring and be shown. The atmosphere was mixed….some dogs and their owners/handlers/teams of stylists (yes, I said stylists) are very calm…others…not so much. With as crowded as it was while people rubbed elbows..literally and figuratively, it could have been far worse.

Whilst there will always be individuals who disagree with this show and it’s practices, I’ll will say that in general I saw a lot of people who care deeply for their dogs and who likely make sure that they’re given the very best of everything. Even if that does mean the bows that hold their fur out of their eyes and jewelry they don around their necks.

The dogs must compete and win in their “Best In Group” categories, before going head to head or maybe head to tail for “Best In Show”. Such a title means money, prizes, sponsorships and maybe most importantly, respect and acknowledgment among the dog breeding world. Westminster is a two day event in which “Best In Show” is announced on the eve of the second day. For those wanting to follow along either secretively or boisterously with a group of pooch-loving cohorts, it will be airing tonight on the USA Network. Check your locals for times;)

To check out more photos from unleashed from behind-the-scenes, click here and follow it to the ‘projects’ tab:)

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