Westminster Dog Show 2018: Everything you need to know

Thousands of primped and disciplined dogs will descend upon New York City to strut their stuff and show what good dogs are made of.

For three days, Feb. 10, 12-13, there will be almost 3,000 canines within a two-mile area of Manhattan for the 142nd Westminster Kennel Dog Show. That’s 2,600 champions, 52 Golden Retrievers, 35 judges, and an ungodly amount of cute.

While the judging is tough as nails with serious implications for the handlers and their hounds, there’s much fun to be had by those watching.

Here’s what you should know ahead of the Dog Show and some highlights to watch out for:

Can I meet the dogs? Yes, about 120 breeds, actually, but only during an allotted time on Saturday, Feb. 10. The meet and compete event includes time to get up close to the stars of the show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and access to the preliminaries from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the finals from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $32.

When else can I watch the championship? Feb. 12 and 13 is when the show really gets down to business. You can purchase tickets for day time (at Piers 92/94) and evening sessions (at Madison Square Garden).

Feb. 12 includes the judging of hound, toy, non-sporting and herding groups, the junior showmanship preliminaries and the obedience championship.

Feb. 13 includes the judging of sporting, working and terrier groups, the junior showmanship finals, group judging and best in show.

You can find tickets here.

Why should I watch? There’s going to be champions from around the country and many who won last year are returning, according to Gail Miller Bisher, a spokeswoman for the Westminster Kennel Club.

“It’s fun to see the love between a dog and its owner,” she said. “You can tell they’ve spent a lot of time together and every extra hour they have training.

Who gets to select the Best in Show winner? That’s Betty-Anne Stenmark from California. She is a breeder, owner and longtime dog club officer who showed her first dog, a Saint Bernard, at a show in 1967. Since then, she’s bred Saint Bernards, Salukis, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers. If you have any doubts, she’s licensed to judge all breeds including Best in Show and she’s worked the Westminster show for 11 years.

Can I bring my dog? No. We know your dog is the best good boy in the city, but unless he’s a service dog or in the show himself, he cannot attend.

Can I buy merch? Yes, there will be 23 vendors, including kennel club merchandise, Westminster Art, Puppyviewer, Lisa Welsh Designs, Mackenzie Couture, FineARF and more. Your dog will thank you.

How can I watch from home? During the day, tune into Fox Sports GO and westminsterkennelclub.org between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. After 8 p.m., competitions will be live on FS1.

Three city dogs who are competing this year are below as well as a few photos from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show preview if you’re still on the fence:

Shaye Weaver