For the first time in its 138 year history, the Westminster Kennel Club will allow the Chinook, NH’s official state dog, to compete in its annual "Best in Show" competition at Madison Square Garden. One of the four Chinook's vying to be top dog is Birr, from Londonderry. NHPR's Sean Hurley visited with Birr and his owners Kris and Chester Holleran, to find out more about the rare dog and the rarefied Westminster Best in Show pageant.
On Monday, Westminster kicks off its 137th contest in front of a packed house at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and no shortage of bemused TV spectators on America’s couches. For most, the world of competitive dog handling is a mysterious one – we at Word of Mouth were forced to admit while prepping for this segment that the bulk of our show-dog knowledge stems from the 2000 Westminster mockumentary, Best in Show, directed by Cristopher Guest.
He took on competition that was much bigger and much faster, but in the end the judges decided Malachy, a Pekingese with a long mop of fur framing his funny little pushed-in face, was the top dog in the land and gave him top honors at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York.