Dog Show No SpectatorsFILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, file photo, Siba, a standard poodle, competes for Best in Show during 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. America's top dogs won't have fans at this year's Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The club announced Monday, March 29, 2021, that spectators and vendors won't be allowed this year because of coronavirus limitations. It's the latest in a series of pandemic shakeups to the nation's most prestigious canine competition, which will be held June 12-13 and has moved from New York City's Hudson River piers and Madison Square Garden to an outdoor setting 25 miles north of Manhattan. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Show dogs will have their day in Madison Square Garden again when the Westminster Kennel Club show returns in January after coronavirus precautions prompted a shift to the suburbs this spring.
The club announced Thursday that next year's final rounds will be held as usual at the famous arena — though earlier than normal, on Jan. 25-26. Preliminary rounds will be at a venue to be announced and start Jan. 24, after a Jan. 22 agility championship at the same place.
Meanwhile, Westminster is preparing for a very different show this year.
It will be outdoors at a riverfront estate about 25 miles (40 km) north of Manhattan in Tarrytown, on June 12-13 instead of in February — and without spectators, apparently for the first time. The multi-day event usually draws 35,000 to 40,000 people in all, according to the club.
This year will mark the first time in the show's 144-year history that it won't be somewhere in Manhattan, and the first time in over a century that the best in show prize won’t be awarded at the Garden.
Fans can watch the final rounds on Fox channels. Preliminary rounds, including the agility competition’s early stages June 11, and an obedience competition will be streamed on Westminster’s website.