A dog runs with a handler during competition in the Hound group judging at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York Monday.
NEW YORK — A 3-year-old female American foxhound named Jewel became the first champion of the 137th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday, winning best in group in the hound category to advance to the best in show competition on Tuesday.
Co-owned by handler Lisa Miller and Ellen Charles from the Baltimore area, Jewel won the best in breed competition for the foxhound last year as well. This year she advanced a step further, capturing the blue garland at Madison Square Garden as the best among 30 breeds of hound.
Judges were picking the best in the hound, toy, non-sporting and herding groups on Monday. The best of the sporting, working and terrier groups will be picked on Tuesday evening, before the winner of each of the seven groups goes forward to compete for best in show.
Hundreds of America’s best-kept and well-behaved dogs paraded before judges and an adoring public at the Westminster show, where Labrador lovers longed for an upset victory for best in show.
In all, more than 2,700 dogs were due to compete over two days, including at least 50 Labrador retrievers in the sporting group whose owners are hoping to make history and bring home the top prize on Tuesday.
The Labrador retriever has for years been America’s most popular breed, just not with Westminster judges. Wire fox terriers, for example, have won best in show more than a dozen times.
This year, two newly recognized breeds have been approved to appear in the show: the treeing Walker coonhound, a tall, flappy-eared descendant of the foxhound; and the Russell terrier, the subject of some controversy stemming from the differing taxonomic habits of kennel clubs in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia.
This year’s dogs come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, organizers said.
The 2012 show was won by Palacegarden Malachy, a male Pekingese, who, as is traditional, has since retired.