We unleashed photographer Jackson Krule backstage.
After the American Kennel Club “Meet the Breeds” event come two days of intense competition, culminating in Group and Best in Show judging at Madison Square Garden. Over 2,500 dogs compete in Westminster Week, but only one can be Best in Show.
The judges enforce strict start times for each competition, and the dogs require a couple hours of grooming to get ready. Travel + Leisure photographer Jackson Krule was backstage as the drama unfolded.
The Group categories were especially fun to see backstage, according to Jackson: “These were some of the most exciting scenes. You have maybe 10 of the exact same—often rare—breeds all groomed the same way standing right next to each other," he said.
In our slideshow, you will see the Yorkshire terriers, all lined up on tables getting some final primping. The dogs were remarkably well behaved during the entire process, Jackson said, “even when their owners were trimming sensitive spots.”
Of course, even the best-behaved creatures have their moments. Jackson met a Great Dane owner who expressed concern that the dog might heed nature’s call during competition. Moments later, the group was competing when one of the other Danes couldn’t hold it any longer.
“The crowd went from laughing to cheering," Jackson said. "The owner took it as well as one could've, and she was laughing herself. To her credit, she just let it happen and didn't try to stop it. It was a nice, funny moment in an otherwise serious competition.”