The elegant dogs get an equally elegant setting.

By Austin Cannon
October 21, 2020
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Credit: John Greim / Getty

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show—”America’s Dog Show”—will move to late spring next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In perhap an even more jarring change, the show won’t be held at its longtime home: New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Instead, the show’s 145th exhibition will move to Lyndhurst Mansion, which looks like a place where Gossip Girl characters would play a touch-football game, in nearby Tarrytown, N.Y. The show itself will take place outside the super-lavish mansion June 12–13 “to uphold Westminster’s strong commitment to the health and safety of everyone who attends our show,” a news release says.  

“The wide-open outdoor space at this extraordinary venue allows us to hold a dog show safely while following current social distancing guidelines and public health regulations,” Westminster Kennel Club President Charlton Reynders III says in the news release.

Studies have now shown that the virus causing COVID-19 is less likely to spread outdoors than it is inside. Which makes the usual February dog show inside MSG sound like a pretty bad idea. 

The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1877 was actually held at MSG’s predecessor, Gilmore’s Garden. The Garden has gone through four renovations, and the dog show has been held at all four versions.

Lyndhurst was built in 1838 and then doubled in size about 30 years later. Today, it holds a large collection of art and antiques and is overseen by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

New Westminster Breeds

The date and location aren’t the only new things this year. Three breeds newly recognized by the American Kennel Club will be allowed to compete at Westminster next year: the barbet (a member of the sporting group), Belgian Laekenois (herding group), and dogo Argentino (working group).

Dog show fans can catch all the floofy bois and girls on Fox and the Fox Sports networks. 

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the most continuously held sporting event in the United States behind only the Kentucky Derby.