Soon, hundreds of tails will be wagging with excitement as more than 3000 dogs compete in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This is the 139th annual show, and dogs (and their owners) from around the country have been training for long hours to get ready to compete. And 11-year-old Emma Rogers, with her Great Dane, Joy, will be in the ring with them!
This year’s show includes two new dog breed categories and brings back the Westminster’s Master Agility Championship. The agility contest was first held last year, and not only was it very popular, it was also the first time mixed-breed dogs were allowed in the competition! The contest is all about speed, not breed, and dogs are judged on how well they can move through obstacles like poles, seesaws and jumps.
Two new breeds will also be shown at the Westminster show. They are the coton de tulear, a friendly companion dog also called the “royal dog of Madagascar,” and the wirehaired vizsla, a Hungarian hunting dog. There are only about 2000 wirehaired vizslas in the whole world! Entering these new breeds in the show is a good way for owners to promote the breed and teach others about them.
Emma Rogers will be joining the hopeful owners when she shows her Great Dane, Joy, in this year’s contest. Joy is almost twice Emma’s size, and Emma has to use a lot of strength to handle the dog and move it into the best posing positions. When Joy puts his paws on Emma’s shoulders, his ears almost touch her chin! The huge dog and the small girl get a lot of looks at shows, but Emma is used to it, and she’s also used to working with the giant Great Dane Joy. “With Joy, she’s easy — most of the time,” Emma said at a news conference with her sisters, who are also competing in the show.
The Westminster Dog Show takes place on February 16 and 17, and the Agility Competition will show on February 14. For more information, visit the Westminster site here.