See some of the breeds in the 2019 Westminster Dog Show, including two first timers

Digital Originals

The Westminster Dog Show takes place Feb. 11-12, 2019 and this year it includes two new breeds: the Nederlandse kooikerhondje and the grand basset griffon Vendeen. CGTN’s Karina Huber and Nadia Becir examine the top contenders, and some fan favorites that somehow never get the top prize.

“Meet the Breeds” is an annual event at the Westminster Dog Show in New York. It’s an opportunity for the public to get up close and personal with the breeds that will be competing in the show.

Two new breeds are making their debuts in this year’s competition, the grand basset griffon Vendeen and Holland’s Nederlandse kooikerhondje.

“The temperament is pretty much just what you see here. It’s very calm. It’s as active as you want it to be. They do very well in the performance events,” said Rob Beckstead, a Nederlandse kooikerhondje breeder.

Popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, the breed was originally developed to help lure ducks into cages.

“We call them the pied-piper of the dog world because the game follows the dog. The only breed in the sporting group — well in any of the breeds — that the game actually follows the dog,” Beckstead added.

In the Westminster show’s 112-year history, the terrier group has taken the top prize more than 40 percent of the time.

And specifically, the wire fox terrier has won 14 best in shows.

“They’re lively. They’re active. They’re always looking around. They’re bred to hunt rats and always be very tenacious. And that performs well and it translates well on the show floor,” said Westminster judge Michael Canalizo.

Winning top prize has little to do with being popular. The Chinese imperial dog known as Shih Tzu is one of America’s favorite breeds, and it’s never won best in show.

Neither has the Great Dane, another popular dog.

Of the top five breeds registered with the American Kennel Club, three have never won best in show, including the golden retriever.

“Goldens, I have to tell you personally, I’m a little surprised because it is such… that’s a breed that the general public loves. It makes a great show dog all the time. I’m surprised,” Canalizo added.

The top prize will be named on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, with 197 breeds and their owners hoping to nab best-in-show glory.