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Dogs get their day at Westminster show at MSG


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So which dog will have the best paw-formance?

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kicks off Monday in Madison Square Garden, attracting 2,500 dogs and 179 breeds from nearly every state and a dozen countries.

The pooch-touting event — which divides breeds into seven groups, such as toy and herding — culminates Tuesday with the Best in Show competition.

Sadie the Scottish Terrier brought home the big bone last year.

Kathryn Kirk of Sherman, Conn. hopes her pair of veteran English springer spaniels, Zelda and Dustin, have a shot at a title.

“They aren’t stressed," she said. "It’s just another show for them. They are going to love it no matter what.”

Meanwhile, six new breeds will strut their stuff at the show for the first time: the Boykin Spaniel, Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, Cane Corso, Leonberger and Icelandic Sheepdog.

“Some of these dogs have been around for thousands of years in other countries, and they are just being recognized in this country,” said show host and Westminster spokesman David Frei.

Some 35,000 people attend the canine contest at the Garden, and even more watch it on TV, Frei said.

“Ninety-nine percent of our TV audience have never been to a dog show and never will, but they have a dog at home and they want to see what a fully-groomed and conditioned and coiffed dog looks like. It’s fun to see that.”

But ultimately “the best in show dog is the dog sitting at home next to you,” he said.


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