See Spot run, strut his groomed stuff, or leap for a Frisbee at these events for dog-obsessed travelers.
Westminster, New York City
Coolest Vacations for Dog Lovers
Westminster, New York City
If your dog doesn’t qualify for the World’s Ugliest Dog, maybe there’s a chance for the best of the breed at this granddaddy of all dog shows. Since 1876, the Westminster Kennel Club has held its annual dog show, with prizes for best of breed, best of group (sporting dogs, toy dogs, etc.), and the height of the dog world, best of show. Before the competitions held in Madison Square Garden, anxious owners fix up their dogs with all the care used for supermodels headed to the runway, hoping to meet the judges’ impossibly strict standards. It is the World Series/Super Bowl/World Cup combined for dogs, but even so, at the most high-pressure event in all dogdom, the tails never stop wagging. westminsterkennelclub.org
More than 300,000 people and their pets turn out each year for Woofstock: peace, love, and biscuits in Toronto’s perfect June weather. The outdoor festival includes dog speed-dating, a stupid-tricks contest, and the Running of the Pugs.
It’s also proof that owning a dog ensures you have more fun than you ever would on your own. Sure, dogs slobber, dig holes, shed, and like to roll in things that smell bad. But they are also the purest expression of joy on the planet. Almost everything is fun to dogs, whether chasing a ball or chasing their own tails.
So the question becomes, what can your dog teach you about having fun? And where would a dog choose to vacation? To help you and the pooch decide, we’ve come up with some of the world’s coolest vacations for dog lovers, whether you bring your pet along for the ride or watch other animals compete and frolic.
Geography is no limit to dog-friendly travel: race a husky across Alaska; hang out with the pampered canines of the fancy shows in Europe; run an obstacle course together in a small-town meet; or sit back and watch costumed dogs on parade at Halloween in New York City. And while some events focus a specific breed, any dog that understands a Frisbee can show up at a local Skyhoundz meet.
Hotels have taken note of the millions of pet-obsessed American travelers, and increasingly welcome dogs—some even offer outrageous perks like pet massages and surf lessons. Takeyourpet.com is among the dedicated online resources for finding a dog-friendly hotel in, say, Petaluma, CA, for the World’s Ugliest Dog Championship.
As Groucho Marx said, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Keeping a dog as your best friend means that you live in a way that’s good for you: exercise, fresh air, and that constant reminder that fun is really pretty simple. (If you don’t have one, your local ASPCA is happy to match good dogs with good people.)
So grab your four-legged friend, hang your head out the car window, and set out for a vacation sure to keep you both grinning.