Westminster 2021: The Show Must Go On

Westminster 2021: The Show Must Go On


The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the most historic dog-sporting event in the world. It has taken place every year since May 1877. Throughout its 145 year history, Westminster has been held at Madison Square Garden in New York City since 1921. It is the venue’s longest standing tenant.

The 2021 Westminster Dog Show, however, has some notable changes in store. For the first time in its history, the show will be held at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, NY, and broadcast (live on the FOX network) June 12 and 13, instead of earlier in the year. As attendees and avid living-room watchers are aware, the show normally takes place in February; the 2020 show took place as usual, right before the global pandemic hit and changed how we currently hold events. As of right now, the WKC is planning to return to Madison Square Garden for their 2022 show.

Photo J. Grassa for WKC

We spoke to Gail Miller Bisher, Westminster’s Director of Communications, to get an inside look at what has gone into planning the 2021 show and what Westminster fans should expect this year.

First off, there will be four newly recognized breeds competing at Westminster for the first time: the Dogo Argentino, the Barbet, the Belgian Laekenois, and the Biewer Terrier will all be making their debut.

Behind the scenes safety, of course, is the top concern. “Our first priority for 2021 was to find an outdoor venue with ample space to safely hold the dog show,” says Gail. “For our show at Lyndhurst, the club’s safety protocols will be elevated to a new level based on local and state health guidelines and beyond.”

As with everything the world has been experiencing over the past year, things are subject to change, but plans for the show are still moving forward.

Photo Courtesy of Lyndhurst Archives

“The biggest challenge of planning the show during the winter of 2020 is the ever-changing local and state guidelines surrounding the pandemic and the uncertainty of what June 2021 will look like,” Gail explains. “If spectators are not allowed at the show, then our fun, educational benching area, where spectators can pet the dogs and speak with the owners, will not take place in 2021.”

But while the WKC team has faced planning challenges, there have also been some unexpected benefits of holding the show at this historic outdoor venue.

“The major benefit to our 2021 location is the expansive grounds that will allow us to have a safe, socially distanced dog show on Lyndhurst’s 67-acre estate,” says Gail. “Hosting an outdoor event will have a different energy than being at Madison Square Garden, but the club will create an equally beautiful show and vibe for its exhibitors and television audience.”

Check out the detailed schedule of events here!

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