Breed judging began Monday at the illustrious show in New York. More than 2,800 dogs in 203 breeds and varieties are signed up to compete over two days, leading up to the televised Best in Show award Tuesday night.
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Monday’s judging includes dogs in the herding, hound, non-sporting and toy groups. One closely-watched contestant is expected to be Whiskey, a whippet that notched big wins in shows televised on Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.
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This year’s Westminster show features two new breeds, the grand basset griffon Vendeen and the Nederlandse kooikerhondje.
The competition is going to be “ruff.”
Handlers are primping and preparing the gorgeous four-legged competitors for their walk around the judging ring.
Dog handler Krista Nuovo Roe is from Middletown, N.Y.
“I love Westminster. I look forward to it every year,” she said. “It’s a lot of work. It’s not just coming to the show that day and bathing the dog the night before. It’s conditioning, which means exercise, routine bathing, brushing, blowing out and training.”
“And then once you get here, what’s it like to be around this competition?” Sanchez asked.
“It’s exciting. It’s the only dog show that actually makes me feel anxious,” Roe said.
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Although there are usually rumored favorites to take the top dog title, clearly the prized pooches are all winners, Sanchez reported.
“Every dog has a chance to win, and that’s what makes it so exciting… That’s what excites people,” said Westminster Kennel Club President Chat Reynders.
The show also featured an agility championship Saturday and is holding an obedience competition Monday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)