Dogs, their owners and the world of dog shows are no-brainer compelling viewing, and now Nat Geo Wild’s Road To Westminster Dog Show will, for the first time, open the doors to the backstage environment at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, known as the Olympics of dog shows. The show will follow dogs and their owners from home life all the way to Best in Show.
Some controversy has surrounded dog shows, due to the potential stress on the animals, and Westminster is what’s known as a ‘benched’ show, where dogs are required to stay on their assigned bench for the entire competition, so breeders and ticket-buyers can observe them. On-air analyst for the dog show, Gail Miller-Bisher explained the practice, saying at TCA on Saturday, “It’s part of our responsibility to have public education at our show.”
EP David Leepson said he’d personally been amazed by the dog show experience. “I’ve been blessed to produce big sporting events like the Super Bowl, like Wimbledon, like the World Series,” he said, “and what I found, and what I love is their passion, and the determination to win, and the love of their dogs….is just as strong as any big-time athlete that I’ve covered in the past.”
Leepson also pointed out that it’s about winning a ribbon, rather than a monetary prize. “For me, it’s how do you not love someone whose motivation is so pure and so passionate? I’ve met housewives and hairdressers and congressmen who all do this…it’s a diff way you’ll see the love that someone has for their dogs.”
Dog owner Remy Smith Lewis said showing dogs is an intense life choice. “As any parent is hoping their kid does the best, it’s the same thing,” he said.
While owner Brandi Ritchie added that it’s a full-time job. “This is a nine-to-fiver, 365 days,” she said. “We put a lot of work into it, so for those couple of minutes in the ring, it’s everything.”