CH Mario N Beechwood's Midnight Express

The mood around the breed rings today at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club show was bittersweet, as it sunk in that only the breed winners next year will get to show “At The Garden.” This is the last year that the mere mortals, the folks who are just thrilled to be at Westminster and have no fantasy about winning Best Of Breed, will get to show in the Garden arena. While some may complain next year about traveling the 25 blocks from the breed judging site at the Hudson Piers to the Garden, I would travel much farther to be in a group judging at Westminster.

GCH CH Graycottage Santeric Fyrestorm

Among the dogs that did not make it out of the breed today were 2011’s Number One Terrier, the Wire Fox Terrier, GCH CH Steele Your Heart, who went Best of Opposite Sex to GCH Graycottage Santeric Fyrestorm, and last year’s Number One Dog All Breeds, the Black Cocker Spaniel, GCH CH Casablanca’s Thrilling Seduction, who picked up an Award Of Merit behind BOB CH Mario N Beechwood’s Midnight Express.

GCH CH Shadagee Caught Red Handed

I have one last surprise of a different type. I had not expected the Irish Setter, GCH CH Shadagee Caught Red Handed, to be here. Emily was the Number One Irish Setter, the Number One Sporting Dog, and the Number Three Dog All Breeds in 2010, before taking maternity leave. Had I known she was back in the show ring, I certainly would have had her on my list of picks. I am delighted to report that Emily was Ken Murray’s BOB.

This year has had more twists & turns than a plate of spaghetti at Carmine’s in Times Square. The possibility of a breakout performance is one of the things that keeps the dog world’s adrenalin junkies coming back each year to Westminster. It also helps to remember that every dog at Westminster is a champion and every dog is a legitimate contender for Best Of Breed. And that’s Today’s Back Story.

Don’t forget to join me for the Best In Show Daily/Dog Show Poop Garden Party, our live on line chat room during tonight’s broadcast of the Westminster group & BIS judging. We will open the doors at 7:50 PM EST.