Davis dog wags across stage at the annual New York dog show
Meggie, a six-year-old Berger Picard from Davis, was entered in the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York from Feb. 15 to 16. Meggie, officially known as Champion Allstars Ellen Barkin, was bred in Virginia by the president of the Berger Picard Club of America (BPCA), Betsy Richards.
The BPCA was founded in 2006 to help grow and establish the breed in the United States. The breed, which was reportedly used once to smuggle tobacco and matches across the Franco-Belgian border, is a very old French herding type of dog.
The Picards originate from an area in France near Normandy, where warfare diminished the breed’s population to near extinction during WWI and WWII. After the wars, people returned to the area to salvage what was left of the Picards.
Last July, another historic moment occurred for the BPCA: the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Association and finally able to compete in dog shows and sports.
Since then, many of the dogs have competed in events across the nation, some even claiming champion titles. But even with such elite titles, no Picards have encountered anything as large as Westminster.
“When we started the club ten years ago, it was like this dream […] that one day we would be shown in Westminster,” Richards said. “It happened so fast and it’s pretty exciting!”
The dream for the club finally came true as the Picards joined the list of newly eligible breeds who would compete in the event. With over 3,000 different dogs entered from all 50 states, the show is a monumental accomplishment for the breed.
Unfortunately, none of the Picards entered in the event went on to win the “Best of Group” portion of the dog show, but winning never seemed to be the main goal.
Gail Miller Bisher, director of communications at the Westminster Kennel Club, explains that the first time a breed shows at Westminster is a historic event and represents a growing period for the newly-recognized breed.
“The dog that would win best of breed and then go on to the groups will always be in that breed’s history and archives as the first dog to do that at Westminster,” Bisher said. “That is an honor and something that is just a breed record […] It is a time for building and growing and establishing.”
This too was the goal of Meggie’s owner, Jackelyn Lundy, who is a UC Davis parent and sociology and economic development alum. Lundy became interested in Picards about 10 years ago when she began looking for a dog whose breed could benefit from more puppies.
After being on a waiting list for nearly two-and-a-half years, Lundy finally crossed paths with a Picard of her own. She began showing Meggie so that others could see a Picard, since most people are unfamiliar with or have never encountered the breed.
“It’s good to get her to shows just so that other people, judges and the general public, can see a Picard and that they’re a cool breed and they’re rare and endangered, but they’re up and coming,” Lundy said.
Written By: BIANCA ANTUNEZ – email@example.com