(Fixes spelling of name Frei after first reference)
NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Westminster Kennel Club Dog
Show is expanding its venue and adding two new breeds, the
Russell Terrier and Treeing Walker Coonhound, for a total of 187
that will vie for the Best in Show.
For the first time in its 137-year history, the two-day show
on Feb. 11-12 will be held at two venues. In addition to Madison
Square Garden, it will be extended to Piers 92/94 on the Hudson
River, so dog lovers can get up close and meet their favorite
"The main change is that we are now in two venues, instead
of one. We are having our day portion of the judging, which is
the breed judging, at Piers 92 and 94 on the west side of town,"
said David Frei, the show's director of communications.
"The breed winners from there will come on down to the
Garden for the evening portion, which is groups and best in
show," he added.
About 3,200 dogs, the most ever, will be featured in the
show, which is the second longest continuously held sporting
event in the United States, after the Kentucky Derby.
"It is the only time of the year when all the great dogs in
the country are in the same place at the same time," said Frei.
The Russell Terrier, at 10 to 12 inches (25.5 -30.5 cm) tall
at the shoulder, will be among the smaller breeds in the show.
The breed was born when the Jack Russell breed was divided into
two in the mid 1980s -- the smaller Russell Terrier and the
larger Parson Russell Terrier, which measures 12 to 15 inches
The Russell Terrier is described as the ultimate working
earth terrier because of its small size and unique chest.
Although it dates back to the 1800s it will be making its debut
at the show.
The other new entrant, the Treeing Walker Coonhound, is a
relative of the English foxhound and gets its name from tracking
and chasing wild raccoons up trees.
"There are six Coonhound breeds that are recognized now in
this country by the AKC. They have also been around for a couple
of hundred years," said Frei. "Walker is the name of the family
that developed the breed."
Before being included in the show, a breed must meet
American Kennel Club (AKC) rules, including having sufficient
numbers in the United States, a certain geographical
distribution, and a parent club that makes sure they are
following responsible breeding practices and meet certain
Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and
Yorkshire Terriers are among the most popular breeds, while the
Wire Haired Fox Terrier has won most best in shows, at 13.
Terriers, in general, have won the top prize 45 times.
The odds of either of the two new breeds in the show taking
home the top prize are slim.
Frei said the shortest time between a breed competing in the
show and winning best in show is about 20 years, and was
accomplished by the Bichon Frise, which won the main award in
Last year, a four-year-old Pekingese named Malachy was won
the best-in-show award. More than 30,000 people attended the
show last year.
(Editing by Paul Casciato and David Brunnstrom)