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The Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) dog show is underway, and it's one of the few events where we can look at photos of adorable dogs and feel classy.
So far four finalists have been chosen.
These magnificent specimens will be joined by three others in the final on Wednesday night, in which one exceptional canine will be crowned “Best in Show”.
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Fans of televised bathroom accidents and people in suits staring pensively at dog bellies can follow all the action live on FS1 (because this is a sport!) or on the Westminster Kennel Club website.
The appointment begins at 7:30 pm ET.
And now, the dogs.
The WKC recognizes 211 different dog breeds, and the goal of the competition is to find the dogs that most closely adhere to their breed standards (hence all the pot-bellied scrutiny).
Contest finalists represent the best of seven different dog breed groups: Shepherd, Hound, Non-Sporting, Terrier, Toy and Working.
Although the four dogs that will make it to the final vary in size, there are two virtues that unite them: they are all very good at the type of dog they are, and they all have great names.
Group of hounds: Trumpet (Bloodhound)
Trumpet, winner of the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Hound Group.
Bloodhounds are "one of the oldest breeds of dogs that hunt by scent," according to classifications by the Westminster Kennel Club.
A discovery made by a trained bloodhound can even be used in court.
The American Kennel Club describes the ideal expression of the hound as "noble and dignified, and characterized by solemnity, wisdom, and power."
Trumpet has it all.
Non-sporting group: Winston (French bulldog)
Winston, winner of the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Non-Sporting Group.
A classic French bulldog name for a classic guy.
According to the WKC, "Frenchies" don't have many useful skills.
But they make up for it with their sympathy.
"Most French bulldogs stand out as friendly and affectionate clowns whose reason for being is to be adored," says the description of their breed.
Winston's smiling face has taken him far.
(Also, one of Winston's owners is an NFL linebacker. That counts as a skill for him, doesn't it?)
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Toy group: Hollywood (Maltese)
Hollywood, winner of the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Toy Group.
Hollywood seems to think it's better than everyone else, and it's right.
Toy dogs are bred for human company and fancy laps.
The WKC description of the Maltese breed says that they have been popular pets with royalty for centuries, due to their "elegance and beauty."
Hollywood, the star that she is, edged out other beauties in her group, including Porsche, the first Russian toy dog to reach the semi-finals.
Herding Group: River (German Shepherd)
River, winner of the 2022 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Herding Group.
German Shepherds are the favorites in the herding group, and it's easy to see why.
Not only are they extremely intelligent and enthusiastic, but they can be trained to work in law enforcement and the military.
However, the WKC notes that they are also family friendly and make excellent service dogs.
A German Shepherd named Rumor won the WKC Best in Show in 2017. Can River repeat the feat?
On Wednesday night the finalists for the terrier, hunting and working groups will be determined.
But only one of the seven finalists can be the best dog!
DogsWestminster Kennel Club