westminster dog show

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


Every February since 1907, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show judges have compared thousands of canines to pick the one that is truly Best in Show.

In honor of this year’s competition, which will be held in New York City on February 10 and 11, we’ve unearthed vintage photos from the show’s history.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the competition, and see how much it has — or hasn’t — changed since its inception.

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

westminster dog show

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.

westminster dog show

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

AP


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

westminster dog show 1937

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.

wesminster dog show

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


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

westminster dog show

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

Tom Fitzsimmons/AP


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

westminste dog show

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 attends to her makeup while waiting for customers at the Westminster Dog Show in 1952.

Ernst Haas/Getty Images


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.

Spectators that year were are also treated to snacks.

westminster dog show

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.

westminster dog show

A man prepares a dog for the Westminster Dog Show in 1954.

Nina Leen/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images


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

westminster dog show

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

Bettmann/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.

westminster dog show

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.

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