Awesome Portraits of Westminster’s Best of Breed

Sunny Bear the Pyrenean Shepherd

On Tuesday, a small black affenpinscher with the most awesome name, Banana Joe, won the prestigious Best in Show award at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. He beat out more than 2,700 for the coveted title. The annual show brought out dogs from 187 different breeds which all first competed at the breed level. Then, each Best of Breed winner advanced into a respective group, of which there were seven – Herding, Hounding, Non-sporting, Sporting, Terrier, Toy and Working. The seven group winners advanced to the finals, where one judge picked the Best in Show.

Did you know that the first Westminster show was held in 1877, making it the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the United States behind only the Kentucky Derby? The event is hugely popular. Today, it is one of USA Network's highest-rated sports specials.

If you missed the show, you can still check out these awesome portraits taken by New York Times photographer Fred. R. Conrad. Not only did he take a striking photo of winner Banana Joe, he also captured some fantastically fun photos of most of the Best of Breeds winners. Out of the 143 portraits Conrad shot, here are the 15 we loved the most. (Is it just us or does Sunny Bear (above) look like she's smiling?)

Sparkles the Briard

Halli the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Biff the Dachshund (Wirehaired)

Kenny the Havanese

Bubbles the Saluki

Swagger the Old English Sheepdog

Bosse the Russell Terrier

Banana Joe the Affenpinscher

Tosh the Whippet

Zoe the Black Russian Terrier

Olivia the Bearded Collie

Cole the Komondor

Ryder the Afghan Hound

Brix the Bulldog

via [The New York Times]

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