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February 16, 2011

Best of the best: 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The premier annual event for dog breeders, dog lovers, and fans of photographs of puffed-out pooches has just come to an end. The Westminster Dog Show attracts some 2,500 dogs from around the nation to two days of pomp and preening before sold-out audiences at Madison Square Garden in New York City and a television audience around the world. Each dog's complete name includes the prefix "Ch" -- for champion, since each purebred entrant has already been a winner somewhere. The dogs are judged by groups, including Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding Sporting, Working, and Terrier. The top dog is selected in the final contest: "Best in Show.'' Six new breeds were included this year among the 179 eligible: Boykin spaniel, bluetick coonhound, redbone coonhound, cane corso, Leonberger, and Icelandic sheepdog. The show, which started in 1877, is second only to the Kentucky Derby as the longest continuously held sporting event in America. -- Lloyd Young (34 photos total)

Andy, a Papillon breed, is carried by his owner outside the Hotel Pennsylvania for the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City Feb. 11. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Green Eyed Dixie Cup, a Chihuahua breed, gets out of its owners car before checking into the Hotel Pennsylvania on Feb. 11. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters) #

Lilly, a German Wirehaired Pointer from Ft. Worth, Texas, sits in her cage as she waits in the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania Feb. 12 (Tina Fineberg/Associated Press) #

Dressed as the Queen of Hearts, Cubby rests as she and her owner Erika Searl of New York, take part in the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show Friday Feb. 11 at the Hotel Pennyslvania in New York. (Tina Fineberg/Associated Press) #

Standard Poodle show dogs Mikimoto (left) and Gem sit during a preview press conference for the show. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters) #

Nine week old Tallulah Blue, a blue Chihuahua, with her owner Cindy Peskoff, of Glen Gardner, New Jersey, left, as they attend the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show Friday Feb. 11. (Tina Fineberg/Associated Press) #

Desert Turquise Elijah, a standard poodle, yawns as it is groomed backstage during the first day of the show Monday. (Jeff Christensen)/Associated Press) #

Jordan the Old English Sheepdog is seen backstage during the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Vera Hueg looks at her Bullmastiff Tessa from inside a dog cage in the grooming area. The show, one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world, is being held on February 14-15. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

A West Highland White Terrier in the benching area. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Two Samoyeds getting take a break from grooming in the benching area. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jackson, an American Cocker Spaniel, in the grooming area before judging of his breed. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

Lindsey Kuhn and Logan her English Setter backstage during the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City Feb. 15. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

A chow chow named Cody is groomed before the show on Feb. 13. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press) #

Kindle the Shih Tzu gets groomed backstage during the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Monday. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jack the Yorkshire Terrier backstage being groomed on Feb. 14. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

People gather around an English Mastiff in the staging area on Feb. 15. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

A sign inside the Hotel Pennsylvania directs where dogs can go to the bathroom during their stay. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters) #

A handler carries her dog backstage to the benching area at Madison Square Garden. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

One-year-old Vienna Valazia of New York City plays with Guinness, an English Mastif as Guinness waits for his breed to be judged. (Mike Segar/Mike Segar) #

Dogs compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 14. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Starr-Point's Celtic Red, a Vizslas, stands in the ring with handler Joseph Buchanan during judging in the Sporting Group Feb. 15. (Mike Segar /Reuters) #

Australian Shepherds compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 14. Over 2,000 dogs will be competed in this year's show which will also include six new breeds to the competition. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Janoo the Tibetan Mastiff waits to go in the ring Feb. 15. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Basenji named Abby gets a treat before competition began Feb. 14. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Cragsmoor Buddy Goodman, a Skye Terrier, with his handler Lawrence Cornelius during judging in the Terrier group on Feb. 15. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

Wilbur, a three-year-old Mastiff, and his owner and handler Margaret Warfield stand in the ring after winning the Best of Opposite Sex ribbon for the breed Feb. 15. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

A Maltese looks up at its handler during judging of the Toy Group Feb. 14. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

A Komondorak in the ring during the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Rhodesian Ridgeback is judged during competition Feb. 14. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

Lucas, an Irish Setter, is held by his handler Jamie Lamphere as they compete in the Junior Showmanship competition. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

A judge feels the tail of an Afghan Hound during judging Feb. 14. (Mike Segar/Reuters) #

Handler Angela Lloyd and Hickory the Scottish Deerhound just before winning "Best in Show" Feb 15. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #

Handler Angela Lloyd and Hickory the Scottish Deerhound pose for photos after winning "Best in Show" during the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York Feb. 15. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) #


 
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