Top dogs vie for blue ribbon at New York show


Feb 13 (Reuters) - More than 2,800 dogs, from tiny Chihuahuas to massive Great Danes, converged on New York City on Monday to compete for the top prize in the storied Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Westminster, the second-oldest sporting event in the United States behind the Kentucky Derby, drew entries from 200 breeds this year, the kennel club said. It will announce the final winner on Tuesday evening.

Dogs from 49 states and 16 foreign countries are in this year's show, where they are judged on characteristics specific to their breeds.

Individual breeds are judged during the day, with the winners of each moving on to group competitions on Monday and Tuesday evenings. The winners of seven groups then compete for the final "Best in Show" award on Tuesday.

Monday's four groups are hounds; herding dogs; toy dogs, which are the smallest breeds; and the non-sporting dogs, a group largely made up of those bred for show or as pets.

Sporting dogs, working dogs and terriers will be judged on Tuesday.

The sporting group, representing hunting and retrieving dogs, has the largest number of entries at more than 500. The most popular breed in this year's show is the golden retriever, with 65 entries.

There are three new breeds in this year's competition: the American Hairless Terrier, which was bred in the 1970s to hunt rats and other vermin; the Pumi, an ancient Hungarian herding breed, and the Sloughi, a North African sighthound.

An additional 330 dogs competed in an agility competition on Saturday, a separate event from this week's judged show. It featured several winners, grouped by size.

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)