The Westminster Kennel Club is opening its doors to non-purebred dogs for the first time in 138 years -- at least, for one event.
Westminster, America's largest and oldest dog show, will still focus primarily on purebred dogs and their famous grand prize, "Best in Show," will still be awarded to a purebred dog. But in the new category "Masters Agility Competition," mutts of all sizes and backgrounds will be competing with Catahoula leopard dogs and Scottish deer-hounds and other purebreds. The agility program is like an obstacle course, judging the dogs' physical aptitude and ability to follow directions as they jump over, crawl under and otherwise navigate obstacles.
It may only be a one-category change for Westminster, but it's a start. Pure-bred dogs aren't the only ones worthy of awards and adulation. Some studies even show that mutts are smarter than purebreds and are on average, healthier and longer-lived than purebreds due to genetic variation. And, of course, there are no puppy mills for mixed-breed dogs.