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Tails from the ring

Naming show dogs is a quirky science, integrating kennel titles and creative flair. For Paul and Carol Milbury's dog, Ch. Driftwood's Coastal Clipper: Ch. is an earned designation, as a show champion; Driftwood's gives a nod to the dog's birthplace, Driftwood Kennel in Ipswich; and Coastal Clipper evokes the region's speedy 19th-century trading ships.

Makeup, hairspray, and other substances are not allowed on show dogs. It's not a highly enforced rule, however, so most exotic breeds receive special primping and hair care before ring time.

Cut system: Westminster works on a three-level judging process, first involving a single breed, then among similar dogs in seven groups, and finally, the top seven dogs line up for "Best in Show."

Judges look for exemplary specimens based on breed standards for looks, size, movement, and temperament.

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