Tense but poised, the English setter shown in the brilliantly lighted scene at left faces one of the most unusual tests in the life of a sporting dog: the field exhibitions in the annual Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York's Madison Square Garden. Here are no open pastures and running birds; the giant arena, which only the night before was ice-covered for hockey, can only simulate the outdoors with its green-matted, brush-strewn field course, and the quail this setter is pointing, though live, is caged. In minutes, the simulated field conditions will be whipped away, and the arena will again become a show ring in which the best of 2,500 top dogs in the U.S. and Canada, all blue-ribbon winners of other shows, will go through the final paces on the road to the big Westminster blue. With best-in-show at the Garden go a silver trophy and national recognition as the year's top show dog. But the greatest reward for the champion comes when, at the midnight moment of glory, he prances in triumph before the admiring eyes of 15,000 spectators. There is nothing more gratifying to a showman—whether he be canine or human—than the cheers and applause of an enthusiastic audience. At the Garden the audience is always enthusiastic, and the dogs know it. For them, Westminster, which this week again moves into the Garden (Feb. 10-11), is the big show of the season, the political rally, cocktail party and college reunion of the dog world.
Moment of satisfaction absorbs handler as he watches English setter point caged quail during sporting dog exhibition which highlights elaborate intermission program at Westminster show
Wistfully waiting with chauffeur at main door, a be jeweled white Afghan watches Westminster entrants arrive at the Garden on opening day