Westminster Dog Show Officials Think Sad, Mongrel Dogs Are a Total Bummer

You're looking at the Westminster Kennel Club ideal — a purebred canine pampered enough to have developed a well-honed sense of class superiority based on its own hopelessly inbred genealogy. At least, that's the metric by which Westminster officials measure canine greatness and if you plan on tuning into tomorrow's broadcast of the Westminster Dog Show, don't expect to see anything other than an endless parade of pleasantly blue-blood creatures.

The WKC has decided to ignore the existence of mixed-breed dogs this year after cutting ties with longtime-sponsor Pedigree, whose commercials often featured maimed, saucer-eyed puppies turning their heads mournfully towards the camera in tune with Sarah McLachlan's reproachful music. David Frei, the Club's director of communications, defends the decision by explaining that the fine owners of purebred dogs everywhere would rather not be reminded of the homeless, muggle-born dogs living under highway overpasses or stealing meatballs from the dumpsters behind Italian restaurants. "We want people," says Frei, "to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives." He added, "Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don't try to shame me."

Oh, God forbid we upset Mr. Frei's delicate sensibilities! Melissa Martellotti, a brand communications manager for Pedigree's parent company Mars Petcare U.S., said that the WKC initiated the split in part because it is "focused on its purebred mission," which makes the WKC sound just a touch like a bunch of disconcertingly stalwart eugenicists. Oh, wait — that's exactly what a club that promotes only the finest purebred animals is. I wonder how Mr. Frei would feel to know that right now, while he's away from home preparing for the upcoming dog show, his family Cocker Spaniel is being seduced by a rakish mutt through the screen door of the Frei veranda.

Tired of Sad Ads, Kennel Show Takes ‘Dogs With a Smile' Tack [NY Times]