The 138th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show got underway Monday, and there are already some contenders for Best in Show.
Breed classes are being held at Piers 92 and 94 during the day, but the show returns to its traditional home, Madison Square Garden, for the group judging in the evening.
Last night four groups were judged — hound, toy, sporting, and herding. The winner of the Hound Group is three-year-old Bloodhound GCH Flessner's International S'Cess, known as Nathan. Heather Helmer, a co-owner and breeder who also handles Nathan in the show ring, said he’s not just a pretty face.
“He is currently the only Bloodhound to have a Best in Show and a man-trailing title in his name, so he does do well in the show ring and also in the field trailing people," said Helmer.
When asked why she bothered to put a tracking title on a show dog, Helmer said, “Because they love it. It’s what they were bred to do; when I have his vest on, he’s the happiest dog on the world.”
Nathan will face off against the six other group winners Tuesday night when Westminster concludes with the Best in Show judging at the Garden. And if he doesn’t win, at least he’s got a day job.