NEW YORK – Scissors, blow dryers, bobby pins – they’re as much a part of the Westminster dog show as commands, crates and treats.
Take Sophie, for example. With perfectly trimmed pompoms and fluffed out fur, she’s the very essence of poodle pulchritude.
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 Monday, the opening of the two-day show.
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.”
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.
A highly ranked American foxhound known as Jewel that likes vanilla milkshakes won the hound group Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
A bichon frise called Honor won the nonsporting group. He is co-owned by Ellen Charles, also the co-owner of Jewel.
“My lucky night,” Charles said.
An affenpinscher called Banana Joe took the toy group. Known for his monkeylike face, he earlier won best of breed honors for the third straight year. An old English sheepdog won herding honors.
The top working, sporting and terriers come today, and judge Michael Dougherty will pick the best in show at the end of the second night.