NEW YORK — Barks, blow dryers and black Russian terriers will abound at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, America's most prominent pooch pageant. Judging begins Monday morning and the winner will be picked Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Things you'll see (and not see) this week:
TALE OF THE TAPE: 2,845 dogs are entered in 190 breeds and varieties, coming from all 50 states and from as far away as Australia, Japan and Brazil. There are Swedish vallhunds, Chinese shar-peis and spinoni Italiani. Do they understand different languages? Well, the handler of reigning champion Banana Joe the affenpinscher says he responds to German, Dutch, Spanish and English.
UNLUCKY DAWGS: In the park or backyard, Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers and Dalmatians and Dachshunds and Chihuahuas are pretty popular. But at Westminster, they're all in the doghouse. They've never won, not once. Why no love? Many of them are considered "honest dogs," meaning they don't rely on a fancy cut to impress. Rather, neatly trimmed terriers and preening poodles often take the top honor.
MOCKUMENTARY ... OR DOCUMENTARY? Cult classic "Best in Show" is often hailed as a perfect parody of big-time dog events. But if anyone who enjoyed Christopher Guest's film happened to wander into Westminster, they might think it's way more truth than fiction. Rich owners, mom-and-pop outfits and the backstage scramble are all part of the scene. So was Parker Posey last year — star of the 2000 movie with her "Busy Bee" toy, she came to the Garden to see the real thing.