best in show

Very Good Dogs to Watch

Photo: Wong Maye-E/AP/Shutterstock

Did you know … that the dogs are very good?

Every year I forget the Westminster Dog show is going to happen, and it always takes my breath away when it does. The winner takes all, but along the way I am always introduced to some truly heartbreaking canines of staggering genius. Last year, Best in Show was awarded to my dude King, the Wire Fox Terrier. Yet it was Winky, the basic bitch Bichon who trotted and posed her way through the agility portion of the competition, who won my everlasting devotion.

More than 2,600 dogs entered the show at Madison Square Garden this year. But who will run-slash-walk their way to victory? We already have some notion with the first three days of the competition in the can and just one more day of striving go. Four out of seven breed categories were judged on Monday, winners crowned in the obedience and agility championships over the weekend, but Best in Show and prizes in the remaining categories are up for grabs. Until then, here are some Very Good Dogs to Watch.

Siba the Standard Poodle

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Siba the Standard Poodle is a strong contender for Best in My Heart. This fluffy icon looks like a topiary masterpiece and only eats chicken. CBS News reported on Monday that in order to cater to Siba’s dietary restrictions her handler Crystal Murray-Clas took her to McDonald’s just before she won the non-sporting group title. “She knows she’s special,” said Murray-Clas. “I think everything she does shows that.”

Bono the Havanese

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Bono is very hot right now. At just 2 years old this doggie is the top-winning Havanese in breed history (according to dog food manufacturer Purina). The New York Times reports that Bono won the toy group for the second year in a row on Monday. His handler, Taffe McFadden, said in an onstage interview, “He wants to be out there. He has something that makes people look at him.” Also Bono apparently loves cats, a big point in his favor.

Bourbon the Whippet

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Evidently this beautiful spider-dog was the favorite to dominate the hound group, and so she has, securing her spot in the competition for Best in Show. But it wasn’t always this way. Last year, in what was considered an upset, Bourbon beat out her own brother, Whiskey, a star in the whippet community at the time having won the National Dog Show a few months earlier. Bourbon’s handler, Chelsie Pickett Smithey, referred to Bourbon at the time as, “the new kid on the block.” Bourbon the Whippet is a personal favorite of mine. She sounds like a lot of fun.

Conrad the Sheepdog

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Conrad is the mysterious 6-year-old sheepdog who swept the herding category. You gotta watch him too!

Honorable Mention: P!nk

This dog always kills it, and kind of terrifies me? P!nk the Border Collie and winner of Saturday’s Master Agility Championship loves to jump, scamper through tunnels, and dodge polls at a breakneck pace. Her need for speed is only outdone by a concentration so manic she tends to resemble a Looney Toon around the eyes. I love when her handler screams “hit it! hit it!” as P!nk scurries up and down ramps like a deranged subway rat fleeing the G train.

Clearly this dog thrives off any obstacle being placed in her path. I just hope she’s making room in her life to chill out and enjoy simple pleasures, like McDonald’s.

Very Good Dogs to Watch