Triangle dogs compete, place in Westminster Dog Show

Posted February 11, 2013
Updated February 12, 2013

JJ, a pug, will compete in the Westminster Dog Show in February 2013. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Koch)

— More than 2,000 dogs, including several from the Triangle, came together in New York City on Monday for one of the most prestigious dog shows in the country, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Chapel Hill competitors Emily Goldstein, 16, and her beagle, Winston, competed in the Westminster Breed competition for the first time this year. They also competed in the Junior Showmanship competition, where Emily was judged on how well she interacted with Winston.

“We spend weeks and months working with our dogs and training. I think people would be really surprised with how much time we actually spend with them,” Emily said.

Winston did not place in his breed on Monday. He made the first cut for Junior Showmanship, but did not make the finals.

Raleigh competitor Aubrey Scheuer used hairspray on her Old English sheepdog, O'Hare, to keep him fluffy and looking his best.

“For your 15 seconds of fame in there, you literally have to spend about four hours (in preparation) for this breed,” she said.

JJ the pug from Chapel Hill had his own fan and mister to keep cool in the ring.

“He did everything that was asked. He looked great, so we'll keep our fingers crossed,” said owner Carolyn Koch.

JJ won his breed on Monday and placed fourth in the toy group.

Westminster is one of the few dog shows that requires owners to bench their dogs, meaning the dogs must be out on display so the public can have a chance to meet and interact with them.

Jelly Local dogs compete in Westminster Dog Show

“This is like going to the Louvre. It's not just seeing the Mona Lisa, but seeing every great painting that you've wanted to see,” said Audrey Sands, a Westminster fan.

In the end, it all comes down to the judge.

“You are looking for a dog that says, ‘Pick me, pick me,’” said judge Dennis McKoy, from Apex. McKoy was tapped to judge the toy breed group Monday night, an assignment so prestigious that he was asked two years in advance and had to keep it a secret.

“I try to be fair, and I think most people know I am,” he said. “It's just my opinion on the day, and sometimes you look out there and say, 'What am I going to do?'”

McKoy became a judge after breeding and handling top show dogs. He says has won seven groups at Westminster over the years.

"When you are showing, you hope your dog is in a solid state of mind and that everything is going to work for you, and when you get out there, they aren’t going to see a butterfly and be bothered with it," he said.

For many competitors, they say just being invited to Westminster is a dream, no matter the outcome of the competition.

“Winning would just be gravy,” Emily said.

The Westminster Kennel Club also introduced two new breeds this year: the Russell Terrier and Treeing Walker Coonhound.


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  • Das G Feb 12, 2013

    I'd rather have my rescued mutts over any single dog in that show.

  • blahblahblah Feb 12, 2013

    timexliving - it's like the Superbowl, the World Series, the Master's, Wimbleton, etc. Those sporting events garner head lines, as well. Westminster is the Superbowl of the dog world.

  • moppie Feb 12, 2013

    Great article. My parents bred and showed English Springer Spaniels when I was a child. We always made sure our puppies went to forever homes. If something happened when an owner couldn't keep the dog, we always took them back, and found other families for them. I currently have two rescues, one I got from a rescue group and one I pulled myself out of a backyard breeders kennel. I urge people to go to our local shelters to find your next pet. Rescue groups are great as well!

  • Deb1003 Feb 12, 2013 couldn't be more wrong. Puppy mills inbreed. Reputable breeders use dogs from other kennels, or dogs in their own kennel that aren't within the same lineage.

  • Deb1003 Feb 12, 2013

    Jelly is a beautiful girl. My lab comes from this kennel and he's just as beautiful. Sally is a wonderful breeder and she's very well respected w/in the Labrador Retriever community.

  • JohnnyMcRonny Feb 12, 2013

    purebred = inbred = a life of health issues (pain) for many

  • mpheels Feb 12, 2013

    ncrebel - In my experience, responsible breeders to work hard to find good/stable homes for their companion animals. Good breeders try to avoid over/inbreeding, and they know that means some puppies won't measure up to show standards. My "sister dog" is a pure bred who is a little too big for her breed because her breeder took care to introduce new lines, which meant a few taller pups in the litter. The breeder loves all of her pups, and places the same requirements on buyers looking for companion animals as she does on those looking for show/breed dogs. She even goes above and beyond in requiring buyers to agree to spay/neuter the companion dogs she sells. the problem is not AKC breeders, it is backyard puppy mills and irresponsible owners that do not spay/neuter, then let their dogs roam.

  • auroraleigh85 Feb 12, 2013

    @irishgirlsarepretty - the reason behind why rescue groups are so expensive is they are run SOLELY on donations and adoption fees to cover their expenses. State run animals shelters are paid for by taxpayers. When you have a rescue group that isn't as well known, as, for example, the Wake SPCA, they do have to charge higher fees. The Wake SPCA (whom I volunteer with) are much more well known in the community and therefore bring in much more donations. Their $95 adoption fee covers OVER $300 worth of vet bills (moreso if the animal has medical problems such as heartworm disease or malnourishment). So your $300 basset hound amount was actually pretty reasonable. And given everything you have to spend on a puppy (with shots, spaying/neutering), I'm pretty sure you spent well over $450. I'm not saying your choice was wrong. I'm just saying that sometimes the cost of purchasing a purebred puppy from a breeder can cost MORE than the cost of adoption when you include all the vet bills.

  • irishgirlsarepretty Feb 12, 2013

    @NcRebel you're right about that -- I do want to throw this out there, though. A few months ago I was in desperate search of a basset hound. I checked out the NC Basset Rescue and they wanted 300 bucks for a dog -- NOT too horrible since they come fully vetted ... however still pretty steep! I ended up getting a full blooded Shar Pei puppy for about half that price -- now granted, I got a REALLY good deal on her. My point is sometimes rescue groups are as expensive, if not more so, than some breeders or shelters :/

  • proud-bleeding-heart Feb 12, 2013

    Mutts (and those who aren't show perfect) rule though...and need homes.