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Letters from the Show Chairman


January 30, 2020

From the Show Chairman to our Exhibitors:

The 144th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is fast approaching, and our Dog Show Committee and Staff are busy putting the finishing touches on what we believe will be another iconic show.  We appreciate the support received from the Fancy in going to a 3 day show necessitated by the closure of Pier 92.  Our entry did reach its limit of 2,500 champions and unfortunately there were entries that had to be turned away.

With the loss of Pier 92, all support functions (Show Superintendent, Press, Chief Stewards Office, and VIP Lunchroom) are now in Pier 94 which necessitated a modified floor plan.  These changes were achieved without reducing the size of the benching area and the number and size of rings.  Additionally, as you may be aware, we have made several event enhancements to make the show even more enjoyable and useful for our exhibitors. This includes daily complimentary continental breakfasts, enhanced lighting and additional monitors which will provide ongoing coverage of all 6 rings simultaneously.  For your transportation needs, we have continued and expanded our bus service to and from our Gold Star Hotels.

The Judging Program contains a detailed logistical schedule which we urge you to become familiar with before coming to the show.  The schedule is also included on our website with a few minor updates from the printed version.

Please note an important logistical change we have instituted this year, which can only be achieved with the support of all exhibitors coming to the show in personal vehicles (POV’s).  Due to restricted space limitations in front of Pier 94, all exhibitors with POV’s must first go to the staging area (at the end of W. 59th Street) where they will then be dispatched to Pier 94 to promptly load or unload their dogs and equipment.  There can be no exceptions to this.   By dispatching vehicles from the staging area to Pier 94, this will avoid some congestion issues we have faced before.  We will have additional personnel in both the staging area and Pier 94 to oversee and assist with this process.  Our objective is to have vehicles essentially go through the staging area to Pier 94 with minimal waiting time.  We can only accomplish this with your support.

All Sunday exhibitors and handlers will be able to unload at Pier 94 on Saturday between 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.  With this 13-hour unloading period, exhibitors will be able to unload in a more relaxed time frame than in prior years.    Another critical point is that those exhibitors and handlers that are benched in rows 1 through 4 will not be able to get into their benches on Saturday until approximately 10 p.m. after the Agility Championship is over.  Exhibitors who are benched in row 5 will not be able to gain access to their benches until 5 p.m., so please plan accordingly if you are in any of these rows.

We thank you for your continued participation in the show and wish you the very best of success.

David A. Helming
Show Chairman


October 1, 2019

As our 2020 show draws closer, I want to update you on some important show highlights in advance of our Premium List, to be released to the public on October 14, 2019.  With the consolidation of our venue into Pier 94 only, please note these changes for 2020:

  • Champions only show
  • Entries limited to 2,500
  • 3-days of breed judging (Sunday-Tuesday) at Pier 94, with regular evenings (Monday/Tuesday) at Madison Square Garden (MSG)
  • Masters Obedience Championship on Sunday (Pier 94) 
  • Junior Showmanship preliminaries on Monday - Tuesday at Pier 94 with the Finals held on Tuesday evening at MSG

Breed judging schedule (Pier 94):

  • Sunday - Herding and Hounds
  • Monday - Non-Sporting, Terriers, and Toys
  • Tuesday - Sporting and Working 

Groups/BIS judging schedule (MSG):

  • Monday - Herding, Hound, Non-Sporting, and Toy
  • Tuesday – Sporting, Terrier, Working, and Best in Show

Benching is required for all breed winners at MSG on the night of their respective Group.  Herding, Hound & Terrier breed winners will NOT be required to return to Pier 94 for benching on the day of their Group judging.

We anticipate that exhibitors will experience a comfortable show venue and enjoy the same amenities provided in past shows at the Piers.  In order to accommodate all participants, we will now unload/load in FRONT of Pier 94.  An exhibitor entrance will be available and additional show personnel will be assigned to assist to ensure a smooth process.  Additional details will follow.  With breed judging now beginning on Sunday, we will encourage Sunday exhibitors to set up on Saturday, as early as noon.  Due to Saturday’s Master’s Agility Championship competition, a small portion of Sunday benching will not be available until early Sunday morning.  As in the past, exhibitor bus service between Gold Star hotels and Pier 94 will be available and expanded to include Saturday through Tuesday.

The Masters Obedience Championship will take place on Sunday with some significant changes.  With an entry limit of 25, the judging will consist of traditional Open and Utility exercises only, with all qualifying scores recorded by AKC.  The dog with the highest combined score in these 2 classes will be named the 2020 Westminster Masters Obedience Champion.  New this year is the addition of the “Streicher Cup,” to be awarded to the dog with the highest score in either single class.

Entries will be accepted for the 2020 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the earlier of November 15, 2019, or when the invitation lists of the Top 5 Breed dogs and National Championship winners are posted (which will be on or about this same time period).

Please follow our website for the latest show information, as plans for our exciting 144th annual show are finalized.

Thank you,

David A. Helming

July 9, 2019

The Westminster Kennel Club has a long and distinguished history of successfully conducting its events for 143 years, oftentimes adjusting to address changes necessitated from extreme weather conditions and new venues. In 2020, for our 144th show, the Club will again adjust to ensure that our events continue to offer the same level of commitment to exhibitors and spectators.

For the last 7 years, with the dedicated support of our Exhibitors, our daytime breed judging has been effectively held in Piers 92 & 94 on New York City’s West Side leading to the evening Group and Best in Show judging at Madison Square Garden (MSG).  As many of you have already learned, Pier 92 is presently closed pending repairs making it unavailable for our 2020 events. Accordingly, we are planning to utilize Pier 94 only for next year’s daytime events and will conduct the show over 4 exciting days, returning to a show of only Champion Dogs.   

The Master’s Agility Championship will be held on Saturday and the Master’s Obedience Championship on Sunday.   Breed judging will be conducted over three days:  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There is no change in evening judging, which will remain at Madison Square Garden (MSG) with Group judging being held on Monday & Tuesday and Junior Showmanship Finals & Best in Show on Tuesday.

A summary of the event schedule is as follows:

Saturday, February 8th    

  • Pier 94  - Master’s Agility Championship - Preliminaries and Finals

Sunday, February 9th      

  • Pier 94  - Hound and Herding Breeds
  • Pier 94  - Master’s Obedience Championship

Monday, February 10th    

  • Pier 94  - Terrier, Non-Sporting & Toy Breeds
  • Pier 94  - Junior Showmanship Preliminaries
  • MSG      - Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting & Herding Groups

Tuesday, February 11th   

  • Pier 94   - Sporting & Working Breeds
  • Pier 94   - Junior Showmanship Preliminaries
  • MSG     - Junior Showmanship Finals
  • MSG     - Sporting, Working & Terrier Groups
  • MSG     - Best in Show  

Over the ensuing months, as details are finalized, we will be providing regular communications on our website, in Newsletters, and in dog show publication, updating our patrons regarding the 2020 events.  Topics will include benching specifics, unloading schedules, tickets, and bus shuttle service information. We look forward to another spectacular show in 2020 and appreciate your continued support.

Thank you,

David Helming