Westminster Dog Show: Top dogs compete for Best in Show

There will be a new top dog on Tuesday night when the Best in Show trophy is awarded at the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Over 2,500 dogs from all 50 US states competed this year to take the prestigious title.

Tuesday's judging follows the selection of seven semi-finalists from different breed groups.

The ultimate winner will be announced on Tuesday night in Flushing, New York, outside Manhattan.

The Westminster Kennel Club is America's oldest organisation dedicated to showing dogs. The show is the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the US after the Kentucky Derby.

This year marks the 148th annual show. It has been broadcast on television since 1948, and this year airs on FOX, FS1 and FS2, and can be streamed at FOXSports.com or the FOX Sports app.

The breeds with the largest number of entries this year are chihuahuas, Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, vizslas, dachshunds, French bulldogs, Australian shepherds and Rhodesian ridgebacks.

Dogs entered the competition from all across the United States, with the most entries coming from Florida, New York, California, Pennsylvania and Texas.

In the preliminary rounds, dogs compete against others of the same breed before moving on to the next round where they are judged in seven groups.

In the final round, which ends with the crowning of Best in Show, the winner from each of the seven groups goes head-to-head in the ring.

Ham, a toy poodle, competes at the 2024 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Ham, a toy poodle from Pennsylvania, competes in the Toy Group during the 148th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Judges determine winners using a written description of the ideal breed, according to the Westminster Kennel Club. Winners are selected based on how well a dog fits the standard as well as how they perform that day.

Two dogs who were semi-finalists last year are competing again in the 2024 contest. Trouble, an American Staffordshire terrier, won first place in the terrier group and Monty, a giant schnauzer, won in the Working Group last year.

There are no cash prizes, but the winner does receive bragging rights and a trophy. For certain categories, like in agility and obedience, winners can direct a $5,000 Westminster donation to a training club of their choosing or to the American Kennel Club Humane Fund.

Here are this year's winners so far, vying for Best in Show Tuesday night. The remaining groups - Sporting, Working and Terrier - will be judged during the day on Tuesday:

  • Hound Group: Louis, an Afghan Hound (Registered name: Sunlit's King of Queens)

  • Herding Group: Mercedes, a German Shepherd (Registered name: Kaleef's Mercedes)

  • Non-Sporting Group: Sage, a Miniature Poodle (Registered name: Surrey Sage)

  • Toy Group: Comet, a Shih Tzu (Registered name: Hallmark Jolei Out of This World)