When is the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? TV channel, how to watch, judging info, new breeds

For the first time in its storied history, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will not take place at Madison Square Garden.

Instead, the 145th iteration of the event – the second-oldest continuously held sporting event behind the Kentucky Derby – begins Saturday at Lyndhurst, a National Trust for Historic Preservation property, in Tarrytown, New York. The competition ends Sunday with the naming of the 2021 Best in Show. 

The event is not open to spectators due to New York State COVID-19 regulations. Groups and Best in Show will be televised live on Fox starting at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday. 

Siba, a 4-year-old Standard Poodle, captured the 2020 Best in Show title with handler Chrystal Murray-Clas. She was just the fifth of her breed to win the title, and the first since 1991's Whisperwind's On A Carousel. The last poodle of any type to secure the dog world's equivalent of most valuable player was miniature poodle Surrey Spice Girl in 2002. 

Here's what to expect from this year's pooch promenade: 

How judging works 

There are seven different breed groups at Westminster: herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy and working. Breeds are evaluated based on the standard set by their parent club, meaning competing dogs aren't compared to other competitors, but to the ideal proportions, weight and size, head shape, gait and other qualities of the breed. Once a dog wins its breed, it is judged within its group. Group winners then move on to the Best in Show category. 

Four groups add new breeds  

Joining 2021's competition are four newly American Kennel Club-recognized breeds: the Barbet, Biewer Terrier, Belgian Laekenois and Dogo Argentino. 

While the Barbet and Dogo Argentino became recognized in December 2019, neither was eligible for competition until 2021. The Barbet (pronounced "bar-bay"), a French water dog, joins the sporting group and the Dogo Argentino, a pack-hunting dog developed in the 20th century in Argentina's Cordoba province, will compete in the working group. 

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