Competing at Westminster This Year: Mutts

Mixed breeds included in agility trial

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 16, 2014 1:43 AM CST

(Newser) – Long the province of the purebred, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show is opening a doggie door this year to mixed-breed competitors. While Labradoodles, puggles, and who-knows-whats won't be able to vie for the prestigious Best in Show award, they'll be included in its new agility trial. It's a notable embrace for the nation's premier canine event, which also is adding three breeds at next month's show: the Chinook, the Portuguese podengo pequeno, and the rat terrier.

No mixed-breed dogs have appeared anywhere at Westminster since the 138-year-old event's early days, organizers say. But this year, Alfie the apparently-part-poodle, part-terrier will be among the dogs weaving around poles, walking up a plank, and springing over jumps on the agility course. His background isn't rarefied: His owner spotted him in a mall pet store, marked down to $99. She wasn't planning to get a dog, but she felt for the curly-haired, black-and-white puppy and took him home, where agility training proved to be an outlet for his boundless energy.

Alfie, a mixed breed, demonstrates his mastery of an agility test during a news conference in New York yesterday.
Alfie, a mixed breed, demonstrates his mastery of an agility test during a news conference in New York yesterday.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Alfie, a mixed breed, demonstrates his mastery of an agility test during a news conference in New York yesterday.
Alfie, a mixed breed, demonstrates his mastery of an agility test during a news conference in New York yesterday.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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