Some of the U.S.'s most pampered pooches, about 2,500 of them, were the center of attention in New York City's Madison Square Garden on February 12 and 13, 2007. They were competing in this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the United States.
To compete, each dog has to be a registered breed and a champion. Breeds are judged on appearance, movement, temperament, and specific physical traits such as height, weight, fur coat, and eye color.
This year, 165 breeds and varieties, including boxers, Scottish terriers, pugs, and chow chows, were separated into groups and judged. First-place dogs in each group competed for Best in Show.
NG Kids reporters Carmen Lopez and A.J. Wilhelm snooped around to track down a few fetching canines.
"It's a giant dog beauty salon back there," says Lopez. "You could smell dog hairspray everywhere."
Long and sleek, short and shaggy—fur is clipped, snipped, brushed, teased, curled, and combed, then sprayed to keep its hold. Brighton Minimoto's winning pom-pom poodle-do made a hit with judges. "I woke at 5:30 a.m. to give Brighton her beauty bath and spend two hours grooming her," said Rachel Corbin, wife of Brighton's trainer.
To match their glamorous images, canine celebrities have impressive names like Hilltop's The Great Houdini, Lil Behrs Thumbelina, Starfire's Here Comes Trouble, Huntwood's Waltzing Mahtilda, Finnabair Rocket's Red Glare, and Eagle Creek's Hamin' It Up.
Eagle Creek's Hamin' It Up, a Pomeranian, is named for his favorite food and his personality, said Ham's trainer, Nina Fetter. "He has a mind of his own, and might not be the most obedient show dog, but he is only 20 months old and has already won two Best in Show. When Ham goes in the ring, he just says, 'Here I am, look at me.'"
This year's Best in Show is an English springer spaniel called Felicity's Diamond Jim. His nickname is James. Not only does James have good looks, but he also has an outgoing personality. When not in the ring, he visits patients with failing memories. Owner Teresa Patton said, "James is very intuitive and knows just how long to stay with the patients so not to overwhelm them."
Text by Jennifer Kirkpatrick