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Dogs from across the country -- and the

Dogs from across the country -- and the world -- descend upon Manhattan annually in mid-February to compete for the Westminster Kennel Club's top honor of Best in Show. (Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary)

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Secrets of The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001
The annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, in its 140th year, returns to New York Feb. 15 and 16.

The televised, best in group shows take place at Madison Square Garden in the evening on Feb. 15 and 16; during the daytime, the best of breed competitions take place at Piers 92 and 94, and they're a great time to get up close and personal with handlers and their canines. Other events, including an agility competition, are held the Saturday before.

Think you know everything about his historic dog competition? Read on. Dogs have secrets too, you know.

Second only to the Kentucky Derby (1873), the

Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Westminster is America's second-longest continuously held sporting event

Second only to the Kentucky Derby (1873), the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is older than the World Series (1903) and the Super Bowl (1967).

Some of the breeds featured included dachshunds, poodles,

Credit: petsadviser-pix via Flickr

Westminster's first show featured 35 breeds

Some of the breeds featured included dachshunds, poodles, dalmatians, St. Bernards, fox terriers, greyhounds, English setters, bulldogs, collies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and a two-legged dog named Nellie.

In 2016 you can barely buy a hot

Credit: Rudolph Tauskey for AKC

In 1878, the entry fee was $2, which included food and care for the dog

In 2016 you can barely buy a hot dog for that price.

The main event is all about breed standards,

Credit: Craig Ruttle

Mixed breed dogs were allowed to compete for the first time in 2014

The main event is all about breed standards, but in 2014, Westminster added the Masters Agility Championship, which is open to all agile pooches. Purebred dogs compete as well, tackling the agility course at Pier 94 in Manhattan.

In its basement, the hotel sets up doggie

Credit: AFP / Getty Images

All contestants stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania

In its basement, the hotel sets up doggie treadmills and an indoor spot for dog walking. Head into the the lobby the Sunday before the big event and you'll find pooches waiting to check in. Above, Moses, a Dogue de Bordeaux, hangs in the Hotel Pennsylvania lobby on Feb 12, 2012.

Westminster is America's oldest organization dedicated to the

Credit: Getty Images

Westminster started in New York in May 1877

Westminster is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. In 1877, after the first Westminster show, The New York Times reported, "The first annual New York bench show of dogs is a great success ... the crush was so great that the streets outside were blocked with livery carriages, and the gentlemen who served as ticket sellers could not make change fast enough ... the crush ... began almost at the opening hour and continued until the close last night."

Miss P, a 15-inch beagle, was the second

Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

2015's winner was only the 2nd beagle to nab Best in Show

Miss P, a 15-inch beagle, was the second of her breed to win the top title in Westminster history. (Her grand-uncle, Uno, was the first; he won Best in Show in 2008.)

The new breeds include the Spanish water dog

Credit: Craig Ruttle

7 new breeds are competing at Westminster's 140th

The new breeds include the Spanish water dog (pictured), bluetick coonhound, Icelandic sheepdog, cane corso, Boykin Spaniel, redbone coonhound and Leonberger. In 2015, just two new breeds -- the white, fluffy coton de Tulear and rare red wirehaired vizsla -- were added to the lineup.

Westminster is about great dogs! In 2015, the

Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

It's not all about the competition

Westminster is about great dogs! In 2015, the American Kennel Club teamed with Westminster for the first time for a Meet the Breeds event, traditionally held in the fall at the Javits Center. On Saturday Feb. 13, the AKC Meet the Breeds gives attendees a chance to meet, play with and learn about over 100 dog breeds, including the rare Xoloitzcuintli (pictured) to the country's most popular dog, a Lab.

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