Meet some of Long Island's prized pedigrees preparing for the Westminster Dog Show. NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

For the more than 50 Long Island dogs entered in the 148th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens, the competition will be fierce, and the potential prizes, woof-worthy.

More than 2,500 top-ranked dogs representing 200 different breeds from all 50 states and 12 nations will be vying for such top honors as best of breed and Westminster holy growl — make that grail — best in show.

This year, New York is near the front of the pack with 190 dogs in competition, second only to Florida’s 201. Long Island’s canine contingent includes both Westminster veterans and newcomers with best of breed-winning granddogs.

“It’s very competitive. All the top dogs in the country will be there in every breed,” says Leslie Plank, 60, owner and breeder of Forestwood Labradors in Smithtown. This year, Plank is entering her eighth Labrador retriever since her first in 2001.

Here are portraits of Long Island entrants to watch out for in the pooch promenade considered the greatest dog show on earth.

CALL NAME: Arthur, a 3-year-old male bull mastiff

WEIGHT: 152 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner/handler/breeder Kay Reil, of Huntington

FIRST SHOWING: May 14, 9 a.m.

FAVORITE SNACK: Kielbasa sausage

COOLEST TRICK: Arthur can take a bow.

FUN FACT: His grandfather won 2017 best of breed.

CALL NAME: Caleigh, a 2-year-old female English setter

WEIGHT: 49 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owners Gregory and Susan Palleschi, of Locust Valley

FIRST SHOWING: May 14, 2:15 p.m.

COOLEST TRICK: Catching a tennis ball.

CALL NAME: Arya, a 3-year-old female German shorthaired pointer

WEIGHT: 48 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Co-owners Rick and Christina Iacopelli, of Smithtown, and Cathy Iacopelli, of East Meadow, and handler Deirdre Dunbar, of Blue Point

FIRST SHOWING: May 14, 1:15 p.m.


COOLEST TRICK: Weaving in and out of your legs.

FUN FACT: Arya is named after “Game of Thrones” character Arya Stark.



CALL NAME: Kylie, a 3-year-old female Labrador retriever

WEIGHT: 74 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner/breeder Leslie Plank, of Smithtown

FIRST SHOWING: May 14, 8 a.m.

FUN FACT: Kylie was conceived through a surgical implant eight years after her sire died. “She comes from a long line of champions,” Plank says.

CALL NAME: Sigge, a 3-year old male Swedish vallhund

WEIGHT: 30 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner/handler Sonja Haasper, of Riverhead

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 10 a.m.

FUN FACT: Sigge lives on a working farm.

CALL NAME: Ming, a 9-year-old female Pekingese

WEIGHT: 11 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner/handler Karen Peterson, of St. James

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 10:30 a.m.


FUN FACT: Ming is making her third and final show appearance.

CALL NAME: Whimsy, a 3-year-old female Siberian husky

WEIGHT: 42 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Co-breeder/owner Kara Hickey and co-owner Robert Cataldo, both of Patchogue


FUN FACT: Whimsy has won titles for obedience, tricks and fitness.

CALL NAME: Fearghas, a 2½-year-old male Irish wolfhound

WEIGHT: 154 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner/handler Lisa Konnerth, of Brookhaven Hamlet.

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 8 a.m.

FAVORITE SNACK: Chicken jerky

FUN FACT: Fearghas appeared in a documentary with actor Isabella Rossellini, of Bellport.

CALL NAME: Merlin, a 5½-year-old male Cairn terrier

WEIGHT: 16½ pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Breeder/owner Alicia Smilowitz, of Mill Neck, and handler Roz Mintz-Fosco, of Hicksville.

FIRST SHOWING: May 14, 9 a.m.


CALL NAME: Sophia, a 4-year-old female beagle

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner Kalena Phillips, of Westbury

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 2:30 p.m.

FUN FACT: Sophia was named after a character on “The Golden Girls” classic TV series.

CALL NAME: Diva, a 2½ year-old female chow chow

WEIGHT: 57 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owners Linda Albert and Victor Fernandez, both of Hauppauge

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 2:45 p.m.

FAVORITE SNACK: Vanilla Ice cream

FUN FACT: Diva’s grandfather won 2010 Best of Breed.

CALL NAME: Ava, a 7-year-old female whippet

WEIGHT: 33 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owners Keith Kamer and Jessica Vaz, of Lindenhurst

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 3:45 p.m.


FUN FACT: Ava can run over 30 mph., according to her owners.

CALL NAME: Jamba, a 3-year, 4-month-old male Cavalier King Charles spaniel

WEIGHT: 19 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Co-owners Charles Weidig, Katie Kennedy, Alyssa McLaughlin and Veronica Kennedy, all of Huntington. McLaughlin is also the handler.

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 9:45 a.m.



CALL NAME: Estee, a 3-year-old female Canaan dog

WEIGHT: 35 pounds

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner Pamela S. Rosman, of Woodmere and handler Kimberly Pastella-Calvacca, of Westbury

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 8 a.m.


COOLEST TRICK: Giving high fives.

CALL NAME: Marguerite, 6-year-old female English setter

WEIGHT: 50 pounds

REGISTERED NAME: GCH Birdhaven Bring On The Rebels

LONG ISLAND CONNECTION: Owner/ breeder Maura Romer, of Huntington

FIRST SHOWING: May 14, 2:15 p.m.

CALL NAME: Tino, a 4-year-old male long coat chihuahua

LOCAL CONNECTION: Owner/handler Maria Pinto Smith, of Westbury.

FIRST SHOWING: May 13, 10 a.m.

FAVORITE SNACK: Whipped cream

The 148th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

WHEN | WHERE May 13 and 14, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows—Corona Park, Queens; livestreamed both days, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at General admission tickets start at $32.80.


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