My entire childhood was spent with my two little brothers, and a series of mutts that we treated like brothers as well. I am head over heels with the news that the Westminster Kennel Club will finally allow mutts into the show. The mutts will not be allowed to compete for "Best in Show" and other titles, but they will get a chance on the first day to show the purebreds a thing or two about agility. This is part of a greater movement to save dogs from euthanasia, and to slow down puppy mills.
In addition to the inclusion of mutts, three additional breeds will compete:
These new breeds will follow the legacy of the first Westminster show that only featured Setters and Pointers, held on May 8, 1877, (Kentucky Derby, 1875- the oldest American sporting event).
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a rabbit hunter and the Rat Terrier speaks for itself. Then there's the Chinook... like most purebreds, the dog is an amalgamation of other dogs.
Arthur Treadwell Walden began the mating from one male ancestor born in 1917 in New Hampshire, and named the breed "Chinook". The lead sled dog and stud was of impressive parentage. Chinook was a crossbreed of a female husky, used on the Admiral Peary North Pole Expedition, and a male mastiff. Chinook was then bred to an assortment of breeds, which included Belgian Sheepdogs and German Shepherds. The resulting breeds helped to grow dog sledding in New England, which focused on work and success.
These new breeds and mutts underscore why America has been so successful.
We're a nation of mutts, and celebrate our melting pot as a source of strength and pride. In fact, the notion mutts could attain things in a life reserved for aristocrats, and their minions in European nations set America apart, and unleashed excellence inherent in all people. The secret has been to reward that excellence, to reward effort; and to have the kind of system that encourages hard work, sacrifice, and determination. I think this America still exists.
Failed fiscal policy that has resulted in a lackluster recovery is being ignored and instead, powerful forces in America see a chance to argue for a new type of discrimination, a new type of aristocracy, that's raking in all the riches and limiting opportunities. For them, it would be better if we had something akin to socialism or communism. In such a system, excellence would be held in check in an effort to make everyone feel like a winner. In other words, it would be the antithesis of what drives all the dogs at the Westminster Dog Show- a desire to be the best.