Pooches show their best side at Westminster

STORY: Release the hounds. Thousands of dogs strut their stuff in New York City at the 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Monday (February 13) and Tuesday (February 14).
On Monday, judges began looking over an expected 2,800 contestants at exhibition halls on piers on the Hudson River. But before the dogs put their best foot forward for the judges, they were meticulously preened and primped backstage by their handlers. Now in its 141st year, the show is the second-longest continuously running sporting event in the United States after the Kentucky Derby.
“So we’re here today at the 141st annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show and we have nearly 2,800 dogs entered in the show this year from 49 states and 16 other countries,” said Westminster spokeswoman Gail Miller Bisher.
“And so today, Piers 92 and 94, we have the breed judging, so this is where the dogs are trying to advance or trying to win Best of Breed and then advance to the group judging at Madison Square Garden,” she continued.
Three new breeds just added to the Westminster Kennel Club’s registry are the Pumi, the Sloughi and the American Hairless Terrier.
“They’re actually not new breeds, they’re just new to the U.S. and so we have the Pumi, which is a Hungarian herding dog that will be in the herding group and it’s historical for that breed because whoever wins Best of Breed today will be the first Pumi to be at the Garden at Westminster, so it’s a big deal,” Bisher said. “And then we also have the Sloughi, which is an ancient African sighthound hunting dog.”
Five-and-a-half-year-old Toby the Sloughi has been the No. 1 Sloughi in the country since 2014, according to his owner, Erika Wyatt. He’s a two-time specialty winner and was the Best of Breed Sloughi at the AKC National Championship in Orlando in December.

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