Westminster Dog Show Debuts in New York City
Over 2500 pooches compete for Best in Show title.
Canines claimed the spotlight in New York City on Monday as the 135th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened at Madison Square Garden for its two-day run. Representing more than 160 breeds, the four-legged entrants included over 2500 individual dogs, ranging from the adorable Affenpinscher to the charming Yorkshire Terrier.
Six show rings filled the main floor of Madison Square Garden's arena during the day, as judges evaluated the breeds comprising the four Groups of Day One's competition: Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding.
Behind the scenes, spectators milled through the backstage area to catch glimpses of these A-list canine celebrities and to look at groomers giving dogs last-minute grooming touch-ups.
Monday evening's judging competition featured the best of the day's breeds as the dogs paraded through the main ring one more time to take on the competitors in each of their groups.
The winners of the 28 Hound Group breeds started off the contest. All of these breeds, which now include the Bluetick Coonhound and Redbone Coonhound, have the ability to track and hunt. This year, the Scottish Deerhound claimed the top spot.
The 23 competing breed winners of the Toy Group entered the ring next, with the lovable Pekingese earning the spot of top dog in the Group.
The evening's competition continued with the judging of the Non-Sporting Group, designated for breeds that have outlasted their original purpose, and including 18 breeds this year. The Best in Group went to the Chinese Shar-Pei, marking the first such win by the wrinkly breed.
The judging of the Herding Group closed out the evening's program as the 24 breeds, including one of the new breeds in 2011, the Icelandic Sheepdog, vied for the top spot. The Bearded Collie claimed the top spot.
These winners will have only a little time to rest on their laurels and enjoy some well-deserved pampering before they head back into competition. After Day Two's judging concludes, all four dogs will face off against the best of the remaining groups for Westminster's ultimate title: Best in Show.
Check out our Westminster photo gallery for a glimpse of the action behind the scenes.
Want to test your breed knowledge? Play our Meet the Breeds game.
And to find out more about individual breeds, check out our dog breed information.
Are you watching the Westminster Dog Show this year? Tell us your thoughts below!
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