22 vintage photos of the Westminster Dog Show

·5 min read
westminster dog show
Nina Mia Vi had to be put inside a plastic case to shield her from the drafts inside Madison Square Garden. Bettmann/Getty Images

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has been held annually since 1877. Among its fans was children's author Nan Hayden Agle.

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Nan Hayden Agle is pictured with "Drink-Moor Moonshine," who was declared the best English bulldog at the 59th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1935. Bettmann/Getty Images

She's pictured with Drink-Moor Moonshine, declared the Best English bulldog in 1935.

Here's Jimmy Walker, the former mayor of New York City, and his wife at the 1936 show.

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Jimmy Walker and his wife at Madison Square Garden, New York, on February 10, 1936. AP

That year a Sealyham terrier, a small breed of terrier that originated in Wales, took the top prize.

A year later, this miniature Doberman pinscher faced off against four great Danes.

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A miniature pinscher does its best to look brave in front of four great Danes at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in 1937. Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Also in 1937, these three English bulldogs looked a bit perplexed.

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Three English bulldogs view the passersby at the 61st annual show in 1937. Underwood Archives/Getty Images

In 1941, there was no shortage of Dalmatians ready to compete.

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A woman holding the leashes of Dalmatian dogs during the show in February 1941. Hansel Mieth/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Just like today, the winners became instant stars. Photographers swarmed around My Own Brucie after the cocker spaniel won in 1941, for the second year in a row.

Photographers gather around the Best in Show, My Own Brucie, in 1941.
My Own Brucie, a cocker spaniel, won Best in Show in 1940 and 1941. Irving Haberman/IH Images/Getty Images

This is Warbride of Mazelaine, who was declared the Best of Breed for boxers in 1945.

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In a surprise win, Warbride of Mazelaine took Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1945. Tom Fitzsimmons/AP

Sailors' outfits might not be in style anymore, but cute bulldogs will always be popular.

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At the 1945 Westminster Dog Show, a little boy in a sailor's outfit cuddles a bulldog. Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

But the overall Best in Show winner in 1945 was none other than this Scottish terrier, Shieling's Signature.

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A close-up of the award-winning Scottish terrier standing beside his trophy at the Westminster Dog Show on February 1, 1945. William C. Shrout/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

You can see all the winners throughout the years here.

In 1952, artist Smith Gordon offered to create portraits of the beloved pups.

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Smith Gordon at the Westminster Dog Show in 1952. Ernst Haas/Getty Images

She attended to her makeup while waiting for customers.

Part of the competition used to include herding sheep.

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Two sheepdogs and their shepherd try to keep a group of sheep inside a small chalked square at Westminster Dog Show in 1952. Ernst Haas/Getty Images

There are still other shows, like agility and obedience, that are part of the larger competition.

Various pet food companies have sponsored the show over the years. Today, it's sponsored by Purina.

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Posters for Red Heart dog and cat food at Westminster Dog Show held in Madison Square Garden in 1952. Ernst Haas/Getty Images

The 1952 show showed some love to Red Heart, which also put a lot of money into advertising on baseball cards.

In 1952, the spaniel finalists were judged as thousands of spectators at Madison Square Garden looked on.

Spaniel finalists at Westminster Dog Show in Madison Square Garden, New York, in 1952.
Spaniels are judged at the Westminster Dog Show in 1952. Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images

Spectators that year were are also treated to snacks.

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Visitors to the Westminster Dog Show take a bite to eat beside a comic cardboard cut-out of a dog. Ernst Haas/Getty Images

Preparing a pup for a dog show doesn't differ much from what it takes to get a human ready: This dog had to get his nails clipped.

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A man prepares a dog for the Westminster Dog Show in 1954. Nina Leen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Owners shared grooming tips behind the scenes at the 1957 show.

Owners grooming their dogs at the 1957 Westminster dog show.
A woman combs her schnauzer at the 1957 dog show. Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1955, Kippax Fearnot was crowned Best in Show, making him the second-ever bulldog to take it home.

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Champion Kippax Fearnot poses with handler Harry Sangster at the 79th annual show on February 15, 1955. Bettmann/Getty Images

Orion of Dolomount, a St. Bernard, was dog tired and needed an ice pack after the judging that year.

In 1955, Orion of Dolomount, a St. Bernard, gets an ice pack on his head.
Orion of Dolomount in 1955. Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images

But the competition didn't just wear out the dogs - here, an owner takes a quick nap, too.

A man naps with his great Dane at the Westminster dog show at Madison Square Garden in 1957.
A man and his great Dane nap behind the scenes in 1957. Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This Chihuahua, Nina Mia Vi, was so small that he was placed in a plastic case to shelter him from the drafts inside Madison Square Garden.

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Nina Mia Vi, a blue blood Chihuahua, listens to the comforting words of owner Ella Abrams while awaiting the competition on February 13, 1956. Bettmann/Getty Images

Nina weighed just over 2 pounds.

A man minds a line of schnauzers ready to compete in the '50s.

A line of schnauzers at the 1957 Westminster dog show.
Competitors in 1957. Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Something that's timeless, though, is how much we love to snuggle and celebrate our furry friends.

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A man poses with a dog at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in Madison Square Garden in February 1956. Susan Wood/Getty Images

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