Chehalis Resident to Judge at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Woof: Terrier Group Will Be Patty Keenan’s Focus at June Show


Lewis County residents tuning in to watch this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will see a familiar face in Patty Keenan, a Chehalis resident who will judge the terrier group at the 145th annual show, which will be broadcast live on FOX starting at 8 a.m. on June 13.

Due to the pandemic, the three-day competition was moved from its traditional February dates at Madison Square Garden and will instead be held outdoors at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York.

“This is a very unique experience and will be very different,” Keenan told The Chronicle. “I grew up in the Northeast, so I went to a lot of dog shows (at Lyndhurst) as a child, so to be back there is extra special.”

Keenan’s mother and grandmother were both notable dog breeders and handlers, and Keenan herself entered the field when she was 3 years old.

“I grew up going to dog shows and have continued to show and breed dogs,” Keenan said. “I’ve gotten to see a lot of the world through our sport. It’s pretty cool.”

Keenan has officially retired from her career as a professional dog handler and currently works as a hospital administrator at Timberland Veterinary Hospital, but she continues to breed and show Brussels Griffons.

She became a certified judge roughly 12 years ago and has since judged at dog shows around the world.

“Judging, I take it super seriously because people spend a lot of time and money and effort in getting their dogs prepared for the shows and making sure that they’re healthy and well bred and all of those things, so for them to enter to show under you is an honor, essentially, that they think that highly of you,” Keenan said.

Keenan will judge the conformation shows for 12 terrier breeds. While she’s well-versed in the details of each dog’s breed standard, a one- to two-page document describing the “perfect specimen” of each breed, Keenan takes time to carefully study and review those breed standards right before every show.

“I’ve done so hundreds of times at this point but you want to make sure that you don’t forget something,” Keenan said.

The winning dogs that Keenan chooses for each breed will go on to compete in the Best in Breed show at the end of the weekend.

A full schedule of events for June 11-13 is available online at

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was established in 1877 and is the second-longest, continuously-held sporting event in the U.S., according to the Westminster Kennel Club.

Each year, roughly 3,000 dogs from the U.S. and around the world travel to New York for the weekend of competition.

The show is divided into two arenas of competition: the conformation competition for purebred dogs and the masters agility and obedience championships, where dogs from all backgrounds are welcome to compete.

While Keenan acknowledged the sport can look intimidating to newcomers, she encouraged anyone interested in getting started to reach out to the local kennel club, the Timberland Valley Dog Fanciers Association, to learn more about the sport or arrange to come out and meet some of the dogs and their handlers.

“There’s so many things you can do with your dog … the conformation portion, they do have to be purebred, but for a lot of the other events, they don’t, and it’s just a great way to bond with your dog and have fun,” she said. “There’s a place for everybody. Everybody started somewhere. … I’m a rare occasion of somebody who was born and raised, (but) there’s a lot of people who have started and been super successful.”

The Timberland Valley Dog Fanciers Association holds a show at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds every fall and hosts a variety of other events throughout the year.

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