(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of dog lovers, handlers, trainers and owners from around the world -- along with thousands of purebred pooches -- will descend on Madison Square Garden on Monday as the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kicks off in New York.
From hounds to toys, terriers to sporting breeds, approximately 2,500 dogs from 179 breeds will compete at the annual event, which is the second longest-running sports event in the country, having been launched just one year after the Kentucky Derby.
With no clear favorite this year, the Best in Show title -- currently held by 2010's champion, Sadie the Scottie -- seems to be an open race.
Each of the competing canines have won some sort of smaller champion title -- to be invited to Westminster, a dog must be rated as top five in its breed category. This year 46 of the top 50 champions from last year will again be competing.
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