If it takes you an hour to walk down the block because your kids have to stop and pet every single dog that crosses their path (Does everyone in NYC have a dog these days? You’re not making our walks to school any easier!), the Meet & Compete event, part of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, is for you.
Though the WKC canine competition is best known for its Best in Show award, handed out this year on Tuesday evening, February 12, at Madison Square Garden, it’s the weekend pre-events that are best for families. At Meet & Compete, on Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., inside the cavernous Piers 92 and 94 on the West Side Highway, your kids can pet all the doggies.
The “compete” part of the day is the first round of the Masters Agility Championship’s timed obstacle course (the finals are held in the evening); you can sit right next to the course and almost touch the world’s most agile and obedient pups as they jump hurdles and run through tubes. (But don’t! You will get in very big trouble! Not that my kids learned this lesson the hard way last year or anything.)
You can touch—and snuggle and kiss—the dogs in the Meet the Breeds section of the convention center, where more than 200 breeds will be ready and waiting at dedicated booths, each plastered with the history and characteristics of the breed. If you’re looking to take the plunge into pet ownership, this is a great place to learn about what kind of dog might be a fit for your family.
It can get crowded, especially around the small-dog booths, but there are plenty of pups to go around. In fact, I dare you to try to stop at every booth and pet every breed. Last year, my family was there for four hours and we only got through about half. We’ll try to get to the other 100 or so this time around.
143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Meet & Compete
711 Twelfth Avenue (at West 55th Street), Hell’s Kitchen
Saturday, February 9, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Tickets available at the door: $35 per adult, $10 per child under 12