NEW YORK (AP) — Banana Joe has this little quirk. The affenpinscher with the monkeylike face shakes his oversized head so hard, he sometimes loses his balance.
That’s OK. At this level of competition at the Westminster dog show, having a big head helps.
“He has a huge impression of himself,” handler Ernesto Lara said.
Ditto for Jewel, the American foxhound that likes vanilla milkshakes. While her entourage fussed over her early win Monday night, she looked around Madison Square Garden for more action.
“Right now, in her mind, she’s thinking this is exactly how it should’ve happened,” said John Miller, son of co-owner Lisa Miller. “She knows she’s awesome.”
A little ego can go a long way at America’s top pooch pageant, especially heading into the best in show pick Tuesday night.
Banana Joe won best of breed for the third straight year, then took the toy group. Jewel was the top hound and Honor the bichon frise won the nonsporting group — Ellen Charles co-owns both dogs.
“My lucky night,” she said.
An old English sheepdog earned herding honors. It was quite a surprise by Westminster standards — 90-pound Swagger is just 20 months old and had only entered three previous dog shows.
“Such a cool dog,” breeder-owner-handler Colton Johnson said.
The top working, sporting and terriers come Tuesday, and judge Michael Dougherty was set to choose the best in show shortly before 11 p.m. on the USA Network. A Doberman playfully called Fifi and a big-winning wire fox terrier called Sky were among the favorites to walk off with the prized silver bowl.
There were 2,721 entries this year, though some missed out after getting stranded by the recent blizzard that hit the Northeast. The 137th Westminster features dogs in 187 breeds and varieties with a pair of newcomers, the treeing Walker coonhound and the Russell terrier.
Sophie left without any ribbons. But with perfectly trimmed pompoms and fluffed out fur, she was the very essence of poodle pulchritude.
Scissors, blow dryers, bobby pins — they’re as much a part of the Westminster dog show as commands, crates and treats.
What Westminster won’t tolerate, though, are PEDs — performance-enhanced dogs.
That means no tattooing a boxer’s nose to make it more black, no braces for a pointer to straighten its teeth, no removing a basset hound’s inner eyelid to improve its appearance.
“It goes against the spirit of showing dogs in their appropriate state,” Westminster President Sean McCarthy said.
Cosmetic surgery isn’t permitted, either, along with steroids. Yet detecting illegal drugs is virtually impossible while a dog has its few minutes in the ring.
“Our judges are not all veterinarians,” longtime Westminster television host and breeder David Frei said. “They can’t tell if a dog is on greenies.”
Some things are OK. Corn starch is often used to get water off a coat, and that helped on a rainy Monday as dogs piled into the halls on the Hudson piers for early judging.
Crufts, the largest dog show in the world, expects to draw 25,000 dogs next month in Birmingham, England. In a year or so, that event might change regulations that have been in place for nearly a century.
“The Kennel Club set up a working party to look at the rules surrounding the use of hairspray, chalk and other products at dog shows, and whilst this review goes on the strict prohibition of these substances remains in place, including for Crufts 2013,” club secretary Caroline Kisko said.
“The Kennel Club regulations state that the use of products that could ‘alter the natural color, texture or body of the coat’ may not be used,” she said.
Associated Press writer Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.
More Related Stories
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- 80-year-old becomes oldest to climb Mount Everest
- Before FBI shooting man implicated self, Tsarnaev in triple murder
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- UK emergency committee convenes after attack
- Brave scout leader tried to reason with London attackers
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11