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Westminster show dogs

Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance travel writer specializing in hotels and resorts. She's the author of The Food Lovers' Guide to Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appea...

Best in show

Contrary to what some may think, being a 'celebrity dog' doesn't mean living the life of leisure as Paris Hilton's latest real-life accessory. Popular pups have been making a name for themselves since the early 1900s at the Westminster Dog Show, captivating audiences with their agility, stamina and textbook looks. Here's a preview of the 'Best in Show' lifestyle?

Westminster show dogs

Most popular Westminster breeds

Since 1907, there have been a little more than 100 "Best in Show" titles awarded. Some of the most popular Westminster show dog breeds include the Fox Terrier, which has taken the grand prize a total of 13 times, and the Scottish Terrier which finished first in the 2010 show. Sadie, also known as the "Hottie Scottie," stole the show with her sturdy build and lush, long coat (and that face!). Other popular breeds include the English Springer Spaniel and the standard Poodle.

The 2010 Westminster Dog Show added three new dog breeds to the mix including the Irish Red and White Setter, part of the sporting group that is bred primarily for the field, and known for a strong and powerful athleticism. Then there's the Norwegian Buhund in the herding category that was once the cherished companion of Vikings. Rounding out the new breeds in the 2010 Westminster Dog Show was the Pyrenean Shepherd, also in the herding group, and a popular family companion in France.

The cost of owning a show dog – and the rewards

Entry into the Westminster Dog Show is only $75 per applicant, but before you go out and purchase the next "Best in Show" winner, you'll want to consider hidden costs associated with breeding, training and traveling. Take Sadie, for example. Typical Scottish Terriers can cost as little as $200 but if you're looking for a Grade A winner, be prepared to drop a cool bundle – about $2,000 to be exact. And if you're looking to breed your pup, you'll have shell out that total times two.

Unless you live in New York City, you'll need to cover your travel and accommodation expenses, too. Area hotels offer special pricing for Westminster Dog Show participants but average nightly rates still range from $150 up to $400 for two or three nights, depending on how long you're looking to stay. Couple that with meals and airline tickets, and you'll be shelling out a pretty penny.

And let's not forget: Westminster-winning dogs aren't just bred… okay, well maybe they are but it still takes a lot of training and nurturing to get them in tip-top shape. Some professional lessons can cost up to $200 per session, though there are trainers who charge as little as $25 per meeting. Finding the right show equipment is important, too. Brushes, leashes, color-enhancing shampoo, show collar and boarding crates – these are just a few of the things you should be prepared to purchase if you're looking to join the club.

Nevertheless, the cost is obviously worth it to the hundreds of contestants who enter the Westminster Dog Show every year from locations like Texas, Florida and Ohio, and even international locales such as Japan and Brazil. And while there's no monetary reward for Westminster Dog Show winners, the trophy and ribbon (and prestige of becoming "America's Dog" for the year ahead) is enough to keep most coming back year after year.

Other recent Westminster winners

A Scottish Terrier may have proven top dog this year, but we'd be remiss not to mention the pretty little pups that took home top honors for their groups:

  • Hound group: Whippet
  • Toy: Poodle
  • Non-sporting: French Bulldog
  • Herding: Puli
  • Sporting: Brittany
  • Working: Doberman Pinscher
  • Terrier: Scottish Terrier (Best in Show)

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