Photos: 140th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

  • The Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.
  • A Greyhound poses for a portrait with its handler. The dog show features hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier groups, of which there are 199 breeds and varieties eligible. 
  • 
Westminster pre-dates the invention of the light bulb, the automobile, basketball and the establishment of the World Series in baseball.
  • The 140th Westminster Kennel Club event has over 3,000 dogs competing, representing all 50 states and 12 foreign countries. 
  • This year marks the 140th year of the show.
  • Westminster is one of the few clubs that continues to hold a benched dog show. The dogs competing are staged on benches categorized by breed throughout the day of competition. This benching allows for the public to easily see all the breeds entered, speak with owners, breeders and handlers to learn more about the dogs.
  • In the first show, there were two Staghounds listed as being from the late General George Custer’s pack, and two Deerhounds that had been bred by the Queen of England. 
  • The best of breeds are judged at Piers 92 and 94 on Feb. 16, 2016.
  • Last year, Miss P, a beagle from Enderby in British Columbia, Canada, took Best in Show at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
  • Labrador Retrievers are the most common entrants in this year’s show with 51 dogs, followed by 50 Golden Retrievers and 48 French bulldogs.
  • The basic purpose of a dog show is to facilitate the evaluation of breeding stock to be used in producing the next generations.
  • In 1924, Westminster became the first AKC member club to include Best In Show judging under the new AKC rules for inter-breed competition.
  • The dog show features hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier groups, of which there are 199 breeds and varieties eligible.
  • A judge has some fun at the Westminster Dog Show, Feb. 16, 2016, left. On the right, a competitor and its handler pose for a portrait.
  • Since Westminster held its first show, 12 states have joined the union and there have been 27 men elected president. One of them, Herbert Hoover, attended Westminster after his time in office.
  • A dog is groomed on the first day of competition in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City, Feb. 15, 2016.
  • One of the contestants shows off his B.I.S. (Best in Show) pin from a previous year. 
  • Dogs and handlers were on their best behavior, Feb. 16, 2016, in New York City.
  • A portion of the proceeds from Westminster’s first show in 1877 was donated to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to establish a home for stray and disabled animals.
  • More than 3,000 canines from all 50 states and beyond came to compete.
  • Emotions ran high at the Westminster Dog Show on Feb. 16, 2016.
  • Tail, ponytail. Westminster Dog Show, 2016.
  • The WKC Dog Show is the second oldest continuously held sporting event in America behind the Kentucky Derby
  • The competition will be held at Piers 92 and 94, and at Madison Square Garden.
  • Dogs and dog lovers descended on New York City this week for the 140th Westminster Dog Show, Feb. 15-16, 2016.
  • A competitor at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 16, 2016.

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Dogs of all shapes and sizes descend on New York City with their owners and handlers for the 140th annual Westminster Kennel Club Show, February 15-16. More than 3,000 canines from all 50 states and beyond came to compete.

The dog show features hound, toy, non-sporting, herding, sporting, working and terrier groups, of which there are 199 breeds and varieties eligible. Labrador Retrievers are the most common entrants in this year’s show with 51 dogs, followed by 50 Golden Retrievers and 48 French bulldogs.

The third annual Masters Agility Championship showcases 330 dogs from 28 states, with New Jersey, New York and Connecticut represented the most.

This year also brings the inaugural Masters Obedience Championship, in which only 35 dogs were invited to participate. Just as in the agility competition, mixed breeds are eligible in the obedience event. Dogs are led through exercises such as following hand signals, retrieving over a high jump and scent discrimination.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography. 

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