David Frei, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
brings his encyclopedic knowledge of everything dog to his 18th year as cohost of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
, which concludes its 131st competition tonight (at 8 pm/ET, on USA Network) at New York's Madison Square Garden.
TV Guide: How can you keep doing this? Don't all the dogs look alike after a while?
David Frei: The dogs are different every year. The breeds are the same, but there are different dogs and different levels of accomplishment in the show-dog world, so it stays very exciting from that standpoint.
TV Guide: Are you a fan of Christopher Guest's mockumentary Best in Show?
Frei: It's wonderfully funny. I actually carry it around with me — it's in my briefcase right here. A lot of people wonder if that's what our world really is, but [the movie] didn't make fun of the dogs, and it didn't make fun of the sport. It made fun of the people, and we kind of admit to being a character-rich environment.
TV Guide: Tell me something doggy that I'd never know otherwise.
Frei: One of the first people to bring the Afghan hound into this country from England was Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers.
TV Guide: Why do they cut poodles that way? Don't you think the poodles find that humiliating?
Frei: [Laughs] Well, it seems to be a little overdone, but it really has its roots in functionality. The poodle was originally a water-retrieving dog. [Owners] would cut the hair that way to leave some protection around the joints and the major organs when [the poodles] would jump in the cold water. It's part of these handlers being artists — it's a never-ending contest in that respect.
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