The 146th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, including agility, obedience, breed judging and best in show, will be held June 18 to 22 at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown. The big show, which usually draws a number of Long Island dogs, can also be seen in a livestream on day of show at westminsterkennelclub.org.
With the Westminster Dog Show scooting to upstate Tarrytown again this year, Long Islanders needn’t stray from these shores to see a smattering of all shapes, sizes and breeds of prize-worthy dogs. There’s plenty of tail wagging action going in our own backyard.
Want to schmooze in the sunshine with fellow pet parents while pooches compete for praise and prizes? Port Jefferson is hosting its first dog festival, following on the heels of the annual North Fork Dog Dock Diving Weekend at Peconic’s Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
If you prefer to see dogs promenading in a ring, loop into the walks led by The Long Island Dog-Owners Group (LI-DOG) at local parks and beaches. “We are big believers in getting dogs outside to exercise and socialize not only with their people but with other dogs, too,” says group president Ginny Munger Kahn.
Here are upcoming events where you and your wonderful woofer can really put on the dog.
LI-Dog Pack Walks
Get a thrill watching Westminster’s best in show parade? A lineup of “every size and style of dogs from little chihuahuas to Great Danes,” purebreds and non-purebreds alike, promenades along park trails at these monthly canine-human meetups, says walk leader Alan Meschkow, 76, of Ridge.
Meschkow and his son, Heath, 47, of Farmingville, who is also a walk leader, bring their whippets, Zara, a 6-year-old who has competed in American Kennel Club events and CJ, an American Kennel Club field and show champion. “It’s a huge coalescence of dogs and humans,” Meschkow says of the pack walks, which often attract as many as 70 dog and owner pairs.
The highlight of the season is the “pawty,” which begins with a beach cleanup. It’s held at “one of the few official off-leash beaches on Long Island” where dogs can swim in the calm waters of the Great South Bay, play Frisbee or catch with their owners, Kahn says. “It’s wonderful to see the dogs playing in the water or running along the beach,” Kahn adds.
INFO May 21, Belmont Lake State Park Babylon, and June 26, Sands Point Preserve Doggie Beach Pawty, Doggie Beach Pawty, Mud Creek Off-Leash Beach, East Patchogue, July 16., lidog.org.
Port Paws Dog Festival
Dock-diving, a dog performance sport making waves in pet-centric circles across the nation, will be making a splash at Port Jefferson’s new dog festival.
Held in a field a short walk from restaurants, shops and the waterfront, the festival will "celebrate dog ownership and also provide a great aquatic competition for registered canine competitors,” says organizer Kevin Wood.
The main event will be a DockDogs competition with dogs running down a 40-foot dock and diving into a pool of water. Events also include high-jumping and swimming to retrieve an object. As many as 40 dogs can be entered in each competition scheduled throughout the day, says Brian Sharenow, director of operations for DockDogs in Medina, Ohio.
“It’s a festival atmosphere, so even if you are just a dog lover, you can get chew toys, collars, leashes and games” at vendor booths, Sharenow says.
DockDog competitions are open to canines six months or older of any breed, size or shape. Teams are made up of one dog and one human handler who must be at least 7 years old.
INFO July 23 and 24, Caroline Avenue Ball Field, Port Jefferson, 631-473-4724, dockdogs.com/event/port-jefferson-paws-dog-festival.
Annual North Fork Dog Dock Diving Weekend
As dogs leap from a 20-foot dock into a 27,000 gallon pool in Peconic’s annual DockDogs event, craft beer aficionados can sample a new can release while sitting at imported German tables in the brewery’s new beer garden.
Brewery owner Richard Vandenburgh says he’s releasing Found, an “easy drinking, lightly bodied American ale” including a limited number of cans with images of rescue dogs available locally for adoption. Vandenburgh adds that Found beer is also meant to “complement a walk with your dog.”
Looking for a treat? Event co-host Harbor Pet in Greenport will also be on site with a mini-store offering samples of baked dog cookies made with spent grains from beer production, says store owner Kimberly Loper.
“It’s a wonderful social event, and my dogs love it,” Cindy Sheils, 64, of Poughquag, New York, says. Sheils, who grew up in East Hills and regularly returns to Long Island to compete with her chocolate Labrador retrievers, Mojo, 4, and Abby, 12, adds, “Any dog that loves water and wants to swim can do it.”
INFO June 4 and 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Greenport Harbor Brewing, 42155 Main Rd., Peconic, 631-477-1100, greenportharborbrewing.com/events