According to those who understand such subtleties, the curl on the tail of Champion Crown Crest Mr. Universe is precisely right. Next week this curious fact may well bring Mr. U.—the shaggy but stately Afghan hound on the page opposite—one of the most distinguished awards a dog can win—his acknowledgment as best of the more than 2,500 entries in The Westminster Kennel Club show at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Even one so perfectly concluded as Mr. U., however, cannot be considered a shoo-in.
Competing for attention, for instance, will be the great soft mournful head of another leading contender—the basset hound bitch, Ch. The Ring's Banshee (above). Her sad face, they say, is so nearly perfect that only a judge from Afghanistan could pass it by.
Far from being able to boast only one superior feature, the animated white poodle puff at the right, whose full name is Ch. Estid Ballet Dancer, is thought by many to be the embodiment of perfection in almost every detail. Her trouble is that, suddenly, miniature poodles are no longer fashionable. There is talk, in fact, that they are definitely out this year and, if so, that would finish the Dancer.
On the other hand, the sturdy and alert Scottish terrier who faces her here may suddenly find himself the dog of the hour. A dark-dog champion from Britain, Walsing Wild Winter of Barberry Knowe, may become the first Scottie in a decade to win the top prize.
Corgis and West Highland white terriers are certainly not in breeds as of now, but the pert and foxy little Ch. Willets Red Jacket (preceding page) and the wistful Westie Ch. Symmetra Snip (below) may put them in simply by winning at the Garden. Ch. Bettina's Kow-Kow (below right), who is not nearly so grumpy as he looks, and the cavalier-curled Ch. Pinetop's Fancy Parade (right) must face the fact that Pekingese and cockers are unfashionably all too common. But who knows? A Peke made top dog last year, a Peke may make it again.
Despite her funereal name and face, Ch. The Ring's Banshee feels so gay—in a melancholy way.
Ch. Crown Crest Mr. Universe drools happily over his owner, is haughtily blasé with most humans.
Glamorous as the late Jean Harlow, ethereal Ch. Estid Ballet Dancer eats tripe for complexion.
English champion Walsing Wild Winter of Barberry Knowe loves cats, hales dogs, likes to play.
Ch. Willets Red Jacket looks rather like a sawed-off fox but has a gregarious, puppyish personality.
WEST HIGHLAND WHITE
No snips are used on Ch. Symmetra Snip, whose thick, fluffy coat is kept neat and trim by plucking.
Proud and perky Ch. Pinetop's Fancy Parade holds record 28 best-in-show awards for cocker breed.
Dry-cleaned daily, the fastidious Ch. Bettina's Kow-Kow has never experienced the thrill of a hot bath.