Top dogs will have to wait as Westminster dog show is postponed due to COVID

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Top budding dogs (and their owners) will have to wait until the next annual Westminster Dog Show, the Kennel Club says, pointing to the rise in COVID-19 cases in New York City.

The annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, which usually begins in January, has become the latest event to be postponed or canceled in New York as the number of coronavirus cases rises.

A record 82,350 new cases were reported in the state on Dec. 26 according to Johns Hopkins University, although that figure fell to 47,100 on Tuesday.

The club announced Wednesday that its board of directors “made the difficult decision” to postpone the 146th annual dog show to an indefinite later date in 2022, “due to the rise of the Omicron variant in New York.”

A new date will be announced once it is confirmed “when it is safe to reunite”, the kennel club said.

Do you remember Preston the puli? Judge Dorothy Collier inspects Preston in the ring at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club dog show on February 13, 2017, in New York City. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

The dog show attracts competitors primarily from the United States, but also from Canada and other countries around the world. The final event is usually held in February at Madison Square Garden.

This year it was moved in June, to a waterfront estate in upstate New York, where it stood outdoors for the first time since its inception in 1877.

Spectators were not allowed and human participants had to be vaccinated or newly tested.

A Pekingese named Wasabi won best in show, beating a Whippet, French Bulldog, Old English Sheepdog, German Shorthaired Pointer, West Highland White Terrier and Samoyed.

WATCH | The 2021 Westminster Task Force winner has a Toronto connection:

Westminster Task Force 2021 winner has Toronto connection

Have you seen Striker, the Samoyed who won the working group at this year’s Westminster Dog Show? Its owners, Marc Ralsky and Correen Pacht, live in Toronto. We caught up with Ralsky after the big win from the beautiful floof. 1h30

Wasabi’s grandfather, Malachy, won Best Show in 2012.

The Samoyed, named Striker, won the working group at the 2021 show. Its owners, Marc Ralsky and Correen Pacht, live in Toronto.

The Westminster Kennel Club hosts the Westminster All-Breed Dog Show, which is the second longest continuously held sporting event in the United States. The longest is the Kentucky Derby, which was started in 1875.

“We appreciate the continued interest and support from the community as we postpone the show to a time when it is safe for us to come together,” the Kennel Club said in its statement.

Other pandemic-induced changes to Big Apple events include a 75% reduction in capacity for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square. Additionally, at least 12 Broadway shows have canceled performances, including Little shredded pill, which earlier in December announced its permanent closure.

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