Culture

Inside the Show Where Dog Lovers Reach New Extremes

by Adam Powell

Did you know that there are 193 dog types recognized by the American Kennel Club? I did not know that, but now I've seen them all. Once a year, thousands of furry creatures and their owners descend on the already quite busy Midtown Manhattan for the Westminster Dog Show.

The opening event is the "AKC Meet the Breeds" event at the Chelsea Piers, where you can meet literally every dog breed: Shih Tzu to Schapendoes, Jagdterrier to Jindo, and Norrbottenspets to Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, all of which could be fake names, but who am I to judge? I'll leave that to the judges.

What struck me the most was the unsurprising yet surprising amount of canine/human lookalikes. I wasn't quite sure how a human could resemble a Great Dane outside of cartoons, and I still don't quite know how it happens, but it does!

The most humbling part of my day was the Cat section of the Dog show. Here I saw a woman falling asleep next to her pride of Bengali cats, and another woman forcing a hairless cat to run in a Cat Wheel.

But among all of the madness of the strangeness of "Meet the Breeds," the unbreakable bond between man and man's best friend was clear to see. As I left the Piers that day I realized that I love dogs, but I love their owners more.

Photography: Adam Powell

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