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Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Did you hear? A Beagle won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week. I went to Westminster Abbey so I could personally congratulate the hound. To my surprise there was not one dog there. I was at least hoping to see the changing-of-the-guard-dog, but it turns out that the club originally met at the Westminster Hotel on 16th Street in New York City, hence the name. Hunters gathered there to give each other pointers on... Pointers I guess. They decided to hold a dog show to find out which Terrier was the Terriest, and they awarded the winner such prizes as pearl-handled pistols. For a while the city was held in siege by bands of dogs brandishing pearl-handled pistols, but things have calmed down since then.

The first Westminster show was held in 1877, the same year Chief Crazy Horse surrendered to U.S. troops, and seven years before the formation of the American Kennel Club. Dogs are judged by their adherence to "breed standards," as defined by each breed's governing group. For instance, the Black Mouth Cur can be any shade of red, yellow or fawn, with a black muzzle, 16-18 inches at the withers, with short, dense hair. If you have an orange Black Mouth Cur with a brown mouth you won't even be able to smuggle that thing into Madison Square Garden, I don't even care about his withers. Today the dog is bred for hunting, companionship, and hunting for companionship.

Six new breeds have been admitted to the competition, including the Xoloitzcuintle. The Xoloitzcuintle did not win this year, but it has won the International Scrabble Competition seventeen years in a row.

There have been some colorful past winners of this storied event. In 2013, an Affenpinscher named "Banana Joe" won Best In Show. Probably named after Joe Biden, quite the Affenpinscher himself. In 2014 a Fox Terrier won, and immediately used its notoriety to bash ObamaCare. Even Patty Hearst had a Best In Breed winner this year, a Shih Tzu that won the best Toy Dog category. The dog is made of Legos. Patty Hearst is a member of the SLA, the Shih Tzu Lovers Association.

I myself was the proud owner of a purebred Eurasier. I don't know what the breed standard is, but I considered this dog to be a member of the non-working, non- sporting, non-herding, non-sitting, non-staying, non-obeying group. It is great with cats, since it eats them. It is relatively friendly to strangers, although behaves strangely to friends.

Anyway, the winner of this year's competition is a 15-inch Beagle named "Miss P." I'm not sure if the 15 inches is with the withers or withouters. The Beagle is part of the Hound Group, and is considered a "scent hound," using its sense of smell to hunt game. It is very good with children, unless your kid smells like game. It is easy train, which is something I do NOT believe, otherwise how did the winner of the Westminster Dog Show get the name "Miss P?"

Just as the blue ribbon was being placed around Miss P's neck, Kanye West stormed the stage exclaiming, "Gimme that ribbon, bitch! Beyonce's dog shoulda won this!" Arena Security quickly placed a muzzle on him and attached a leash, whereupon he was pranced around the ring a few times to a smattering of applause.

Incidentally, the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show becomes "America's Dog," embarking on a media tour and a visit to the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building, where it is too short to see over the railing.