For most of the general public the Westminster Kennel Club show is known for the six hours of live televison coverage of the Group & BIS judging. For most of exhibitors the focus is on the breed judging. In my book, winning the breed at the Garden carries as much weight as winning a Group One in most venues. Here are some of the breeds I’ll be watching.

GCH CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore & GCH CH Jaset's Encore

The most anticipated match up of the show will be the meeting of the Standard Poodles, GCH CH Brighton Lakeridge Encore, and GCH CH Jaset’s Satisfaction. The former, Ally, a spectacular white bitch and the latter, London, a stunning black dog, were the Number Four & Number Six Dogs All Breeds. Ally finished the year with a flurry of BIS and London finished the year as the AKC/Eukanuba National Champion. Such a difficult choice will be anything but black & white for judge Doris Cozart.

GCH CH Starline's Chanel & GCH CH Sporting Fields Bahama Sands

Another face off I will look for will be in the Whippet ring where two beautiful bitches will close a rivalry spread over the last three seasons. GCH CH Starline Chanel is the winningest Whippet in AKC history and finished last year as the Number One Hound. Last year GCH CH Sporting Fields Bahama Sands was the Number Two Whippet, Number Three Hound, and the Number 20 Dog All Breeds, even though she competed in far fewer shows than the top two Hounds. Breeder judge Geir Flyckt-Pedersen has never had the two in the same ring. Whatever the outcome, I encourage you to see these two exquisite examples of the breed.

GCH CH R and G's Mystical Dancer & GCH CH Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream

In the Working Group I encourage you to drop in on the Boxer ring, where last year’s Number Three Dog All Breeds, GCH CH Winfall Brookwood Syled Dream, aka Scarlett, will meet GCH CH R & G’s Mystical Dancer, aka Danny, last year’s Number 17 Dog All Breeds. I like this comparison because Scarlett is everything you want in a Boxer bitch and Danny is everything you want in a Boxer dog. If you want to see a text book example of the differences, stop by Judy Harrinton’s ring at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, February 14th.

GCH CH Alpine's Highwayman & GCH CH Castle Rock's Sbigstaff Mad About You

Finally, two of my favorite Terriers from last year were the American Staffordshire Terriers, GCH CH Alpine’s Highway Man, calll name “Jelly”, 2011’s Number One AmStaff in breed points, and GCH CH Castle Rock’s Sbigstaff Mad About You, call name “Maddy”, the Number One AmStaff in all breed points. Once again we have a rivalry that has spanned a couple of seasons and a great example of correct breed type coupled with a gender specific appeal. Terrier legend Peter Green will sort it all out for you.

All the above are my dream match ups. However, I have no inside information and can’t even be sure that any of the above dogs are actually entered. Once again, don’t bet the lunch money on any of these rings. If you can’t attend the show–and most of us can’t–check out the Westminster Kennel Club’s terrific site and watch these four breed videos while you’re waiting for the TV broadcast.  And that’s today’s Back Story.