Londonderry High School science teacher Kristine Holleran will be competing with her Chinook, Birr, at the 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
“Prior to this, the Chinook as a breed was in the miscellaneous classification in the AKC (American Kennel Club) but now they have full recognition, so I was showing Birr the first year in the AKC shows and we qualified by getting our championship,” she said. “We were invited to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. When Westminster invites you, you should probably answer, that’s the way I look at it. It’s a real honor to be invited.”
Holleran said Birr, whose full name is Lakeside Run’s Little Bear, is 4 years old and noted that the Chinook is the state dog of New Hampshire.
“We’re pretty excited to be representing the state dog of New Hampshire and representing the breed at Westminster this year,” Holleran said.
Her web page on the Londonderry High School site bears a graphic of a Chinook dog attached to a sled, with the slogan “The Chinook Dog – A New Hampshire Original. Official State Dog of NH.”
Holleran said the first competition will be what’s called the “breed ring,” and Birr will compete against the three other Chinooks at Westminster.
“If we should win that, we would go to the ‘group ring,’ where he would be in the working group,” she explained. “They sort out the breeds by group designations, and he would compete in the group ring for a group win. Being their first year in the AKC, I’m not really sure that that would happen for any Chinook. They’re pretty rare, so a lot of judges haven’t seen them or haven’t seen many. If you were to win the group ring, then you would go on to the ‘Best of Show’ ring. But I’m not seeing that happening.”
Subject to a final audit of figures, the Westminster Kennel Club has 425 working breeds registered, ranging from Bernese Mountain Dogs to Mastiffs and German Schnauzers.
Holleran said she is excited to have been invited to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
“We went to the national AKC show a year ago December and he (Birr) was in the miscellaneous class and took Best of Breed,” she said proudly. “This year we’ve been showing in AKC and we were lucky enough to do well enough to be invited to Westminster, so that’s pretty awesome.”
Holleran said she and Birr will be competing Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m.