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What the Pups at the Westminster Dog Show Did When They Weren’t Competing

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How Pups Prep for the Westminster Dog Show

Each dog gets ready to walk for the judges in his own way, whether that means relaxing, primping or even hitting the town.

About 3,000 dogs from all over the country descended upon New York City this week to compete in the 142nd Westminster Dog Show. On Tuesday, Flynn, a Bichon Frise, took home the award for Best in Show, but even pooches that didn’t place made the most of their time in the Big Apple. From downtown Manhattan to Times Square, the pups hit the pavement and took in the sights and smells (oh, so many smells!) of the city when they weren’t strutting in front of the dog show judges. Here are just a few of the ways that the dogs filled their time before and after the show.

They Snuck in a Workout

A little exercise can help calm pre-show nerves (or at least burn off some of that bouncy energy before the judging begins). For Toby, a 7-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, a vacay to New York City was no excuse to slack off. He carried—or rather, pulled—his own luggage (mostly grooming supplies for his long coat) around the city in a wheeled basket attached to his harness. “He’s a working breed, so he loves it. This is his job,” says his owner and veterinarian, Valerie Biehl, DVM.

Cici, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever, also couldn’t sit still. “She got excited as soon as we got to the hotel, and dragged me into the room, threw her toys around and jumped from bed to bed,” says Jennifer Boyle-Grant, CiCi’s handler.

They Played Tourist

Play hard, work hard, right? From the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, there’s no shortage of sights in New York City. Ellington, a 185-pound Saint Bernard, surely didn’t miss out. He hoofed it to Rockefeller Center and Times Square with his owner, Mikala Seymour, and Nadene Seymour, a junior handler. “Ellington just trots along and takes it all in. He’s so big that the crowds just part around him, which makes walking around very easy for us,” Says Mikala. The Saint Bernard even took a ferry ride to Staten Island and posed for photos with crew members.

Ellington wasn’t the only one sniffing around Manhattan. The first day of the Westminster Dog Show happened to fall on Great Dane Turq’s third birthday. To celebrate, Turq and his owners, Linda and Ray Delfing, strolled up to Times Square. Turq sported a party hat for the occasion, and the costumed characters in Times Square sang “Happy Birthday” to him. “He received the most birthday wishes I think a dog’s ever gotten,” says Linda.

They Chowed Down

You can’t compete with an empty stomach, after all. Sascha, a 6-year-old Tibetan Mastiff from Seattle who won Best in Breed in 2013 and 2014, wasn’t about to miss out on New York City’s famed foodie scene. The 130-pound pup dined on a steak in his hotel room before this year’s dog show, said owner Ricardo Gellegos.

They Chilled Out

Some of the puppers that competed at Westminster indulged in more relaxing activities when it wasn’t showtime. Diamond, a 3-year-old Irish Setter, took a quiet stroll with her owner to the Hudson River to watch the geese (the doggy version of meditating, maybe?). Maximus, a 2-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff, did some people watching at his hotel in addition to a good deal of napping, according to his owner.

They Primped

The Westminster Dog Show is all about looking good, so it’s no surprise that many of the pups spent hours being bathed, groomed, styled and powdered—even having their fur straightened with a hair straightener. And once they’re picture-perfect, their owners attempt to keep them that way.

Betty Boop, a 4-year-old Komondor from Virginia, was bathed before she left for New York City, since it takes a full two days(!) for her ropy, mop-like coat to dry completely. Once Betty Boop arrived in town for the show, she wore booties when outside to prevent her white fur from becoming filthy. Maybe it’s not the most fetching look for the streets of New York, but the fashion faux-paw was a small price to pay to remain camera-ready.



Originally from Chicago, Nicole joined the Chewy team as a marketing intern in January, 2017. Since then, Nicole has continued writing and photographing for Chewy as a Content Collaborator while completing her education at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. She is majoring in both marketing and corporate innovation, before returning to Chewy as a Marketing Analyst. In her free time, Nicole enjoys traveling, riding her horse or snuggling up with her Pug, @zoetheloaf, and Terrier, Cozmo.