A local grand champion show dog is competing Tuesday in the 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City. First-time contestant Echo, a young Labrador retriever, is scheduled to compete Tuesday morning, Feb. 12, at Madison Square Garden.
The competition airs live Monday and Tuesday on the USA network starting at 8 p.m., and on CNBC at 9 p.m.
Echo’s owner, Jeff Moore of Felton, in southern York County, PA, will be ringside cheering him on during the competition. Echo will be handled by professional dog handler Heather Bremmer. (She’s shown with Echo in the photo above.) He is one of 54 Labrador retrievers competing at this year’s show.
The Best of Breed winner will then vie for the Sporting title against other sub-category winners. Seven Best of Group winners later will compete for the overall title of Best in Show.
Dogs compete for points toward their AKC championship. Judges award points after examining a dog’s teeth, muscle, bones, coat texture and profile for overall balance, according to the AKC. Contestants also are judged on their gait.
To become a recognized champion, each canine needs 15 points, including two from major wins worth 3 to 5 points and from at least three different judges. Points are awarded depending on the number of entries of the breed in a show.
Grand champions must have earned 25 points under four different judges. They also need three major wins and to have defeated another Champion of Record in three competitive shows.
Moore said Echo began competing in dog shows when he was six months old. The Labrador earned his championship title a few months later, and became a grand champion at 20 months old.
Moore breeds and shows English-style Labradors under the AKC Kennel name of Rambo Run Labradors, www.ramborunlabradors.com. In addition to Echo, Moore has eight other Labradors living at home; he co-owns two with Diane Ammerman of Casbar Labradors in New Jersey.
“The AKC allows up to six people to own a dog on paper,” Moore said. “Co-ownership is used to protect the dog.”
Should anything happen to a show dog’s owner, another registered owner would assume responsibility for its care, eliminating the need for a foster home or shelter.