Madison Square Garden has really gone to the dogs

  • @tompeck

New York's Madison Square Garden, a name more closely associated with basketball giants and rock 'n' roll legends, is again holding a sell out crowd this week. But the stars of the show are Jack, the Yorkshire Terrier, and 2,499 of his friends.

The 135th annual edition of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second longest-running sports event in the US began yesterday in the iconic arena, and will culminate with today's Best in Show championship for various breeds.

For those unlucky enough to miss out on a ticket, is also broadcasts live on US television, with highlights streamed online.

Pity poor Jack, however: the overwhelming winners, placing 52 times, are dachshunds. America's most popular dog over the past 12 years, the Labrador retriever, has only placed 10 times.

Six new breeds make their Westminster debuts this year, newly recognised by the American Kennel Club and eligible for competition: the Boykin spaniel (Sporting Group), the bluetick and Redbone coonhounds (Hound), the Italian cane corso and Leonberger (Working), and the Icelandic sheepdog (Herding).

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the most important of three dog shows in the US, including the popular National Dog Show on the Thanksgiving holiday. The Madison Square Garden event is the American's answer to Crufts which, by their own admission, remains the largest and most prestigious in the world.