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7 Unforgettable Dogs at Westminster

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Style|7 Unforgettable Dogs at Westminster

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/15/style/westminster-dog-show-best-in-show.html

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The dog show can have only one winner, but each canine in contention for the title stood out in their own right.

Louis, an Afghan hound, will be remembered long after this year's show. With hair like that, who could forget him?Credit...Amir Hamja/The New York Times

Published May 15, 2024Updated May 16, 2024

Only one dog can win best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and this year the honor went to Sage, a spectacularly coifed miniature poodle whose main-character energy was hard to ignore. But what of the dogs she defeated?

Seven dogs entered the final round, each representing distinct canine groups: herding, working, hound, terrier, toy, sporting and non-sporting. (Don't ask what "non-sporting" means; theoretically the group could just be labeled "other.") The dogs were big and small, fast and slow, excited and phlegmatic — a dizzying range of canine pulchritude and behavior.

Each dog was judged on how well they adhered to the Platonic ideal of their breed. But even the losers were winners. Here's a look at what made the seven finalists champions in their own right, and impossible to forget.

Image

Credit...Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Let's be honest here. Some of the dogs in the final round looked less like dogs and more like clients of a beauty salon staffed by celebrity stylists who had watched "Zoolander" one too many times. But Mercedes, the magnificent 4-year-old German shepherd bitch who took reserve best in show — that means second place — was all dog. Sadly, she had no chance to demonstrate her prowess at herding, the group to which she belongs. But she cavorted around the ring as if she owned the place and genuinely seemed to be having fun, which was more than you could say for a lot of the dogs. Mercedes's joy and sense of humor were infectious. We hope she comes back in 2025.

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