Does the Westminster Dog Show Have a Sexism Problem?

Hollywood, Wall Street and Main Street have all been scrutinized for being sexist. And now it seems the Westminster Dog Show is also deemed unfair to females.

Reuters reports that the number of male dogs who have won Best in Shows is nearly double the number of female dogs, 71 vs. 39 respectively.

The reason? Money. Once a female dog wins Best in Show, she is expected to breed and produce a litter. This can put an end to a female dog’s career.

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A dog’s prime time to compete is between the ages of 3 to 5, which also happens to be the same age range that is the peak period for females to breed, professional handler Kimberly Calvacca, told the outlet.

“People don’t like to campaign females because they don’t like to jeopardize their breeding program,” she said. “Males can be used to stud anytime, and still show and breed at the same time.”

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And females who aren’t breeding, but are in heat aren’t always great for competition. During their cycle, which occurs every six months, they can be moody. Also, their coat may not be optimal, making it hard to compete against their male counterparts.

These hurdles make some people think, “I don’t want to be bothered with that, I’ll go with a male,” said Calvacca.

Besides being more reliable (there are no cycles to worry about), males also may rake in more money in the breeding circuit. Their sperm can be used multiple times and handlers don’t need to worry about taking time away from competing.

This year, 1,220 females are 1,669 males are looking to take home Best in Show. While the ratio favors males, the sole judge of this year’s Best in Show, Betty-Anne Stenmark, says that each sex has a “50-50 chance” of winning.

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