New Hampshire's state dog, the Chinook, is ready for prime time
Lakeside Run's Little Bear - Birr to his friends - is a Chinook, New Hampshire's official state dog. The Chinook is one of three breeds competing for the first time at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City next month, and Birr will be representing his breed and his state at the big show. (SHAWNE K. WICKHAM/UNION LEADER)
By the numbersThe 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will be televised live on CNBC Monday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m., and on USA Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.
Thirty-two dogs from NH are entered, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll see them on the prime time TV broadcasts . To make that cut and appear in the televised group finals, a dog has to be judged Best of Breed in daytime competition. Those breed competitions can be crowded. The most populous breeds at this year's show:
1. Labrador retrievers (76)
2. Golden retrievers (58)
3. French bulldogs (52)
4. Rhodesian ridgebacks (46)
5. Australian shepherds (44)
The Chinook, New Hampshire's state dog, making its first appearance as a breed in the show, has only four entries.
So it seems only fitting that a real New Hampshire Chinook will be representing his state and his breed at the prestigious event.
First held in 1877, Westminster is America's second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind the Kentucky Derby. Each year, the prime-time live broadcast from Madison Square Garden draws millions of viewers.
For a look at the Chinooks sledding, click the video below:
Today's Chinooks are descended from that original Chinook.
Another new breed at Westminster this year is the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, the smallest of a trio of Portuguese hunting hounds. And here, too, a New Hampshire dog will help introduce the world to his kind.
That makes Ollie a real underdog.
Kahla, an AKC judge, used to raise and show golden retrievers. But after knee surgery, she decided to try a smaller breed, and the Pequeno won her over.
"They are a working breed," she said. "They require a lot of exercise, a lot of training."
He doesn't actually eat them, but likes to carry them around, "talking" all the while, she said. "He'll stuff three or four in his mouth."
Lucille Jordan, president of Nashua Community College, is bringing her 2-year-old female yellow Labrador retriever to Westminster. Like many champion show dogs, her AKC registered name is a mouthful - Tampa Bay's Gusta Sea Salt @ Snobo - but her friends call her ChaCha Bear or Charlee.
If Charlee finds herself in a corner during the judging, Jordan said, "she just kind of steps out there and puts her head out there and they see her. She loves it."
Emily Elliot of Errol is bringing two of her dogs - Charlee's brother, Tampa Bay & Snobo Batten Down the Hatch (Hatch) and the dogs' father, Grand Champion Belquest Fergus N Trouble@Snobo (Gus) - to Westminster.
There's another New Hampshire Labrador retriever going to Westminster this year: Celtia's Riverdance, aka, River. His owner, Kathleen Coleman of Swanzey, said her 5-year-old black lab is competing in the "open" class and could finish his championship with a win at Westminster.
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