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David Frei brings a canine joie de vivre to Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

On the job with David Frei
Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

There is no such thing as loving dogs too much. Just ask David Frei, Director of Communications for the Westminster Kennel Club. Frei, who has been co-hosting the television show for The Westminster Kennel Club for the past twenty four years, is dedicated to the sport of showing dogs.

To my mind, the most important job Frei has is to educate his audience throughout the six hour show; the dogs do the entertaining! That is to say, he explains what can be a bit intimidating or confusing or unpronounceable - and he does it most admirably. Many individuals have learned about a breed during the show and come away with the thought, “I’m going to get that dog.” And they do. And they become passionate, with unbridled enthusiasm, as it were. Thanks to Frei, that is. I like to think of the Show as a learning experience.

The most important lesson of the show is explaining that the different dogs aren’t competing against each other. They are being judged by their Breed Standard. Put most simply, the Standard describes the dog’s Conformation: its height, weight, ear length; tail length, coloring, coat type; eye color, facial hair and much, much more. The Best In Show Dog will have met its Breed Standard perfectly.

David Frei makes no bones about his breeds. They are Brittanys and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, respectively. This wasn’t always the case. When he lived in the Seattle area, his breed was the Afghan Hound and he achieved great success in the ring. When asked what brought about the change from Hounds to Spaniels, he was most forthright. “I had a life change and moved into smaller housing; then the woman in my life brought me my Brittanys and I’ve been excited about them ever since!” He then moved from Woodinville to Manhattan permanently and began working full time for The Westminster Kennel Club, as opposed to commuting every February.

As for living and working in New York City, Frei said, “The scope of my job is media and New York is the media capital of the world; it’s also a great dog city.” Preparation for the show begins around November. This year, almost six hundred press were credentialed.

Frei used to combine his duties at Westminster with his innovative “Angel on a Leash” therapy dog program. He is rather proud that that program is now a separate entity from Westminster. He also co-hosts The National Dog Show which is telecast on Thanksgiving Day.

This year for the first time, the American Kennel Club is allowing non pure-bred dogs to compete in Agility at The WKCDS. Thanks to Frei’s ardent devotion and a job “nicely done,” I guarantee you will enjoy the American Kennel Club’s 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show experience.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will air Monday, February 10th from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the C-NBC Network. The Groups will be Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding; and the same time on Tuesday, February 11th on the USA Network. The show will conclude with the Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, and of course, Best In Show. It’s hard to imagine, but the first televised show took place in 1948!

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