The still-to-be determined finalists will be judged against a bloodhound named Trumpet, a French bulldog who goes by Winston, a chic Maltese called Hollywood and River, a German shepherd.
Trumpet the bloodhound won the hound category, strutting his facial folds and floppy ears as he bested other hounds, soaking up the spotlight and cheers, his handler and owner Heather Helmer told Fox Sports immediately after his win.
The nonsporting group might be one of the oldest categories in the dog show history, but there’s nothing senior about Winston, the bulldog who bulldozed his way to beating out 20 other nonsporting dogs for the top spot. Winston’s cute steps across the floor to showcase his stature was met with enthusiastic cheers from onlookers and even more once he was named winner.
Excelling in competition is no stranger to Winston, who counts Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman Morgan Fox among his owners.
“If this is how my parents felt watching my games all these years I apologize,” he tweeted while watching the show.
Winston’s “big bat ears,” round eyes and good genes make him exceptional in his category, his handler and co-owner Perry Payson told Fox Sports moments after the victory.
Hollywood the Maltese also demonstrated what perfection looks like on a toy pooch. Her well-groomed white hairs trailed behind her like paparazzi as she jogged along the green stage to be judged.
“She has beautiful hair texture,” her handler, Tim Lehman, said. “I think she’s a great representation of what a Maltese should look like.”
Lehman said Hollywood loves being in the ring and life outside competition.
German shepherd River seemingly floated to first place in the herding category, leaving about two dozen other dogs to lick their wounds in defeat.
When his handler, Lenny R. Brown, was asked about what separated River from the other first-rate dogs in his category, the answer was simple: “The standard.”
Live coverage of the event can be streamed on the Westminster Kennel Club’s website from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST.