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U.S. COVID surge postpones Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Wasabi, a Pekingese, won Best in Show at

Wasabi, a Pekingese, won Best in Show at the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which was held in June in an outdoor venue in Westchester County due to the pandemic. Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

The Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show has become the latest event to be postponed or canceled in New York as the number of COVID-19 cases surges in the state and across the nation.

The club's board of governors announced Wednesday it was postponing its 2022 event, scheduled for late January, to later in the year. A new date wasn't given.

"The health and safety of all participants in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show are paramount," the group said in a statement. "We appreciate the community’s continued interest and support as we delay the show to a time when we can safely convene."

First held in 1877, the dog show attracts thousands of competitors from around the nation and is normally held in February, with semifinal and final rounds at Madison Square Garden.

This year, it was moved to June and held outdoors at the Lyndhurst Mansion in Westchester County's Tarrytown. Spectators weren’t allowed, and human participants were required to be vaccinated or newly tested.

A Pekingese named Wasabi won Best in Show, beating out a whippet, a French bulldog, an old English sheepdog, a German shorthaired pointer, a Samoyed and a West Highland white terrier.

With COVID-19 cases now exploding around the United States, the postponement comes less than two weeks after more than 8,500 canines, owners and handlers converged for another top U.S. dog show, the American Kennel Club National Championship in Orlando, Florida.

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