Temecula resident to judge at 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog show

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Temecula resident Valerie Nunes-Atkinson is among the judges at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City Feb. 9-11. Valley News/Courtesy photo

NEW YORK CITY – Temecula resident Valerie Nunes-Atkinson is among the judges at the 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City Feb. 9-11. Nunes-Atkinson will officiate over the Junior Showmanship Finals Tuesday evening at Madison Square Garden in her first judging assignment at Westminster.

Since 1934, a Best Junior Handler has been awarded at Westminster. Nunes-Atkinson will select Best Junior Handler from among eight Junior Showmanship finalists. Finalists are determined in preliminary rounds that are comprised of nearly 100 juniors who have qualified in dog shows around the country to compete at Westminster.

Nunes-Atkinson is a second-generation breeder of German Shorthaired Pointers under the prefix of VJK. She’s been involved in conformation since she was 8-years-old, showing a pup from her father’s first litter. Her Junior Showmanship career culminated with Best Junior Handler at Westminster in 1981. For the past 25 years, she has been a professional handler and breeder, having won numerous Bests in Show and National Specialty wins in many breeds.

In 2014, she and co-breeder Yvonne Hassler-Deterding, using the prefix VJK-MYST for their German Shorthaired Pointers, won AKC’s Sporting Group Breeder of the Year. As a breeder, she most notably co-bred, owned and handled the 2016 Westminster Best in Show winner CJ. She also co-owned Carlee, the 2005 Westminster Best in Show winner, both German Shorthaired Pointers.

All daytime preliminary breed and junior showmanship judging, and the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster competitions will be held at Pier 94 on the West Side of Manhattan. The Group, Best in Show and Junior Showmanship Finals judging will be held at Madison Square Garden in the evening. The dog show is preceded Saturday, Feb. 8, by the seventh annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster on Pier 94.

All Westminster Week events are presented by Purina Pro Plan.

For the full Westminster Week schedule and ticket information, visit www.westminsterkennelclub.org.

Submitted by Westminster Kennel Club.