Pink wins Westminster Kennel Club’s Agility title
By: Patrick Christiano
February 8, 2020: On Saturday evening at Pier 94 Pink, a border collie named after the pop singer of the same name, dazzled the sold-out crowd as she dashed to victory in the Westminster Kennel Club’s Seventh Annual Agility Championships. The agility championship showcases a dog’s skills with a series of 20 obstacles and highlights the bond between the dog and handler. The handler runs alongside the dogs, guiding them with hand cues as well as verbal cues, through the obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, ladders and ramps. Pink’s handler, Jennifer Crank from Ohio, said “She gives 110% all the time,” and Pink’s performance, barking along the way with a dash of personality, was a stand-out. Over 300 dogs participated, with the preliminary rounds taking place earlier in the day. Dogs are scored on both speed and accuracy and compete in five different height classes, 8 inches, 12 inches, 16 inches, 20 inches and 24 inches.
Pink scored her victory in the 16 inch-class. In the 8-inch class Fortune, a papillon owned by Andrea Samuels, who won last year with another papillon, Gaby, took the top prize with a time 36.76 seconds. Pixel, a miniature American shepherd, was a repeat winner in the 12-inch class with a time of 36.4 seconds, which didn’t best her time from last year’s win. The winner in the 20-inch class was Lili Ann, an Australian shepherd. Kaboom, a border collie, won the 24-inch class for the third time in the past four years, also winning in 2018 and 2017.
Agility, the first part of the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, requires dogs to quickly navigate a series of obstacles as their handles run alongside them, giving direction and encouragement. The competition was added to the traditional breed show in 2014. Over 330 dogs competed in the sport, which requires a strong bond between dog and handler. The champion is determined after the dogs compete in the five different height classes.
Mosses, a 10-year-old border collie and-labrador retriever mix, won a special award for the top mixed-breed dog.
The agility championships will air on Fox Sports, FS1, Sunday evening, February 8 from 8pm-10pm EST.
Traditional judging leading up to Westminster’s best in show begins on Sunday and continues through Tuesday at Pier 94 in New York. The Westminster Kennel Club estimates 2,630 dogs will be competing in the breed show, representing 204 breeds. The finals, the dog show’s group breed judging, will air live from Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday, from 7:30 p.m. to 11 on Fox Sports FS1. Best in show will be named on Tuesday evening from the winners of the different groups and will be the final competition the evening.
Photography: Barry Gordin