130th Westminster Dog Show Begins

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," February 13, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: That's a clip from "Best in Show," a film that pokes fun at the highly competitive world of dog contests. More than 2,600 pooches of 165 different breeds are getting ready for the 130th Westminster Dog Show tonight at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Dog trainer Andrea Arden joins us now. She is a columnist with New York Dog magazine and she used to show dogs.

And in her lap is a, what?

ANDREA ARDEN, NEW YORK DOG MAGAZINE: A little Yorkshire terrier.

GIBSON: A little Yorkshire. And he is so — she, he?


GIBSON: He is so nervous. He is sitting there shaking.

ARDEN: This is his first time on TV. It's very exciting.

GIBSON: His first time on TV. He's a cutie.

Do I suspect that there are some doggy politics that go on? There are some kinds of breeds that will win this show and some that just won't?

ARDEN: Well, I think it depends on who you ask. If you ask ...

GIBSON: Well, I'm asking you.

ARDEN: Well, if you're asking the people who aren't winning, they'll say that their breeds are not likely to win.

I think that if you look at the winners over the last five to 10 years, yes, there is a trend towards certain types of dogs.

GIBSON: Newfies, poodles ...

ARDEN: We've actually seen a Norfolk terrier win, very popular, Springer spaniels are popular, pointer. There was a German Short Hair Pointer last year that was a winner named Carly. But I think that Westminster is really open to lots and lots of different dogs. They all have a good chance as long as they show themselves well.

GIBSON: Well, what exactly is showing the dog?

ARDEN: Well, showing the dog is when you are basically bringing your dog to a show and saying I want you as the judge to judge this individual dog against the standard that the breed club for that particular type of dog and the AKC have said that is the perfect type of dog.

So, for example, little Scruffy, as much as he is a champion in the hearts of his family, probably would not win a championship in the show ring.

GIBSON: The one in your lap?

ARDEN: Yes. This is little Scruffy, because he probably is not — when you compare him to the standard, he doesn't probably excel in what a Yorkshire terrier is supposed to look like.

GIBSON: All right. Now we were just looking at poodles being done up. And I have a suspicious that poodles have a leg up in this competition, am I right?

ARDEN: Well, in some ways. I mean, the dogs that require a lot of grooming, if you are a very good groomer, you can actually use that to your benefit and hopefully hide some of the flaws of the dog. So in that way, maybe.

GIBSON: When I see a dog that's well groomed, that's got all the little puffy things all over, what are they hiding?

ARDEN: Well, they're not necessarily hiding — actually the reason that those dogs are groomed that way is there was a real purpose a long time ago. They are water dogs. And the grooming was actually meant to protect the dog's joints in the water. So, that's why you see pompoms around their feet and on their ears.

GIBSON: All right. Well, have you got a prediction for this year?

ARDEN: Well, actually there is a dog that was supposed to be the big winner last year named Coco who is a Norfolk terrier. And she wasn't going to be entered this year, she was retired. But because the judge supposedly likes her, they did enter her.

GIBSON: All right. There you have it. And this little darling is just not going to be a winner, but we like him nonetheless. Andrea Arden, thank you very much.

ARDEN: Thank you.

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