I am sitting in Manhattan eating a real Reuben sandwich–OK, it was prepared by a Korean counter man–and ready to dive into the uniquely New York experience that is the Westminster Kennel Club show. Now that I am here and the show is less than two days away, I’ve received some updates on dogs that won’t be here.

GCH CH Tolkien Raintree Mister Baggins

First the Bearded Collie that won more Herding Groups than any other dog last year, GCH CH Tolkien Raintree Mister Baggins, has not been entered. Roy is the number one Beardie of all time with 75 career Bests In Show. Roy and handler Cliff Steele finished 2011 as the Number 14 Dog All Breeds. It would have been very exciting to see Roy and the German Shepherd Dog, GCH CH Babheim’s Captain Crunch, each of whom had 27 BIS last season, go head to head, but it’s was not to be.

GCH CH R And G's Mystical Dancer (Photo by Vicki Holloway)

I had hoped to see the Boxer bitch, GCH CH Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream, face off with the Boxer dog, GCH CH R and G’s Mystical Dancer. She was the Number One Boxer, the Number One Working Dog, and the Number Three Dog All Breeds in 2011. He was the Number Two Boxer, the Number Three Working Dog, and the Number 17 Dog All Breeds. He, Danny, and breeder/owner/handler Kimberly Steele-Gamero collected 17 BIS & 63 Working Groups last year.

GCH CH Alpine's Highwayman

Although I had seen the terrific American Staffordshire Terrier bitch, GCH CH Castle Rock’s Sbigstaff Mad About You, and the impressive AmStaff dog, GCH CH Alpine’s Highwayman, in the ring together before, I was anxious to relive the experience. She, Maddy, was the number one AmStaff based on all dogs defeated with 11 BIS & 35 Terrier Groups. He, Jelly, was the number one AmStaff based on breed points and winner of the 2011 Staffordshire Terrier Club of America National Specialty.

There still may be more no shows, but there will be far more “shows” and I and my Best In Show Daily partners are here to tell you all about it. Don’t forget to join me here and on Dog Show Poop for my annual Garden Party, this year brought to you live from ring side. And that’s today’s Back Story.