The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show made its first appearance on television in 1948. To celebrate 70 years of sharing our passion for dogs with television audiences at home, Westminster along with its broadcast partner, FOX Sports, will air three consecutive days of expanded television coverage on three channels – FOX, FS1 and Nat Geo WILD highlight Westminster Week Events on Feb. 11-13, 2018. The more than 3,200 dogs entered across three dog sports will entertain, enamor and excite dog lovers around the world.
Returning for the live FS1 evening telecast from Madison Square Garden is the Voice of Westminster Gail Miller Bisher of Darien, and Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Chris Myers. Joining them this year is respected judge Jason Hoke, who has judged the Toy Group at Westminster. Jen Hale, Shannon Sharpe and Kristine Leahy will also be reporting from Madison Square Garden. Catch the live telecast on FS1 on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13 from 8 to 11 p.m.
As with many in the sport of dogs, her experience started as a family affair. Bisher, who grew up in the midwest, was a team with her parents – while they handled most of the breeding, Bisher did the grooming, training, physical conditioning and handling. In addition to conformation, she has trained and handled dogs to their titles in obedience, rally, advanced CGC and earthdog.
Bisher began handling dogs in the show ring at the age of 10 and handled her first dog to its championship title when she was just 12 years old. From her Winners Dog win at the first Bearded Collie Club of America’s (BCCA) National Specialty in 1979, she continued to handle her dogs and clients’ dogs to National Specialty Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex wins as well as All-Breed Best in Show wins, numerous nationally top ranked positions and Junior Showmanship breed history. Gail was the first junior handler to qualify for the Westminster Kennel Club’s famed Junior Showmanship competition with a Bearded Collie and the first to place, capturing second place.
In 1988 she began her judging experience with regional specialties and supported entries and now is an AKC-licensed judge of Bearded Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and Junior Showmanship competitions. In 2015 she judged the BCCA National Specialty. Although time does not allow for much other than a limited number of judging assignments while raising her daughter, Gail has stayed in the ring by earning four titles each on both of her miniature dachshunds, who are now retired.
Her volunteer dog club work includes serving the BCCA as a former breed columnist and club-approved breed mentor, Specialty Conformation Chairperson and club historian. Additionally, she is a member of the Dachshund Club of America, Morris & Essex Kennel Club, Greenwich Kennel Club and the Dog Writers Association of America.
Bisher told The Darien Times she moved to New York City in 2003 and then relocated to Rowayton with her husband, daughter and dogs for four years before moving to Darien in the last year. Her daughter attends Tokeneke School. Her two dogs recently passed away due to old age, but she plans on getting a new puppy in the spring after the hectic schedule of the dog show is over.
Bisher also spends the summer visiting dog shows around the country to provide content for her website work.
She has nearly 10 years of experience directing the marketing, brand development and public relations for the American Kennel Club and developing content for Webvet.com. In 2003 AKC hired her to be an on-air representative appearing on national media outlets to promote the sport and purebred dogs.
Bisher credits her Junior Showmanship experience for creating the foundation for a successful professional career where she has gained recognition in advertising, marketing and the public relations industries. She is a Clio and Mobius (and Cannes shortlist) Award winning broadcast producer with 12 years of experience in the advertising industry. Additionally, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, has earned a Master of Arts degree in Communications and created the Super Fit Fido Club to educate pet dog owners about the importance of canine fitness.
Viewers will be able to tune into the FOX broadcast network for the first time to catch expanded coverage of the 5th Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster finals on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 from 2 pm to 4:30 pm EST. Daytime viewers will enjoy expanded select live coverage of the 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and 3rd Annual MastersObedience Championship at Westminster on Nat Geo WILD on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, 2018 from 1 pm to 4 pm EST. The coveted Groups and Best in Show live telecast will continue on FS1 on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 8 pm to 11 pm EST.
Covering this year’s three-hour live daytime telecast on Nat Geo WILD are long-time dog show judges Mrs. Kimberly Meredith-Cavanna of Pleasantville, CA and Dr. Donald Sturz, Jr. of Brooklyn, NY, both of whom have judged groups at Westminster. Joining the dog show analysts are Justin Kutcher, the returning play-by-play announcer and reporting from the floor will be Jen Hale, Shannon Sharpe and Kristine Leahy of FOX Sports. In addition, there will be new pre-event programming this year leading up to the live dog show telecast on FS1. On Sunday, Feb.11 at 8 p,m. Nat Geo Wild will offer the premiere of two one-hour shows, The Road To Westminster, aired back-to-back.
The 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show reached its conformation entry limit of 2,800. There will be a total of 2,882 dogs at the show representing 2,919 entries which includes 95 junior showmanship qualifiers and 24 obedience teams in the third annual Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. There are also 330 agility teams entered in the fifth annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster on Saturday, Feb. 10.
NEW Channel / Expanded Agility Finals Coverage from Pier 94 on FOX
Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 / 2 to 4:30 p.m.
It took a mere eight hours for the 330 invited agility dogs to fill the entry at the fifth nnual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster. But viewers of this fast-paced sport will have an additional half hour in the expanded telecast to watch dogs and handlers race against the clock over a challenging obstacle course. The finals also expanded from 10 to 12 finalists from each height division for a new total of 60 dogs in the Championship Round from where the Masters Agility Champion will emerge.
Expanded LIVE Coverage from Pier 94 on Nat Geo WILD
Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, 1 to 4 p.m.
During the day, an extra hour of live selected daytime coverage on Nat Geo WILD from Pier 94 has been added to the telecast from 1 pm to 4 pm EST. Dogs from all 50 states, the most from the West Coast and beyond, with California (240), Alaska (7) and Hawaii (7) as well as 136 dogs from 16 other countries, including 102 from Canada will compete in breed competition at the 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
LIVE from Madison Square Garden on FS1
Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, 8 to 11 p.m.
The 142nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show evening group competitions will once again be telecast live on FS1 Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, 2018 from 8 pm to 11 pm EST. Viewers will see best of breed winners from among the 201 Breeds and Varieties entered. Seven group winners will vie for the coveted Best-in-Show moment at Madison Square Garden. Hounds, Toys, Non-Sporting, and Herding groups compete on Monday night. Working, Sporting, and Terrier groups as well as Best in Show will occur on Tuesday night.
Top Breeds By Sport
Dog Show Entries: Golden Retrievers (52), followed by French Bulldogs (48), Labrador Retrievers (46), Vizslas (45), Rhodesian Ridgebacks (43), Whippets (42), Australian Shepherds (37), Bernese Mountain Dogs (35), Doberman Pinschers (35), and German Shorthaired Pointers (34). Agility Entries: Border Collies (55), Shetland Sheepdogs (34), All-American Dogs (29), Golden Retrievers (18), Australian Shepherds (18), Poodles (18), and Papillons (15). Obedience Entries: Golden Retrievers (9), Border Collies (3) and Labrador Retrievers (3).
Meet & Compete: On Saturday, Feb. 10, the Meet & Compete event featuring the fifth annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and the ninth annual AKC Meet the Breeds will be held. This joint effort between The Westminster Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club provides an opportunity for people to interact with more than 150 dog and cat breeds and learn about responsible pet ownership. Information: For tickets to all events and the telecast and live streaming video schedules visit westminsterkennelclub.org.