Backstage before the show, there were rows of tables with owners and trainers pampering pooches of all shapes, sizes, breeds and hairstyles. Spaniels were combed, poodles were coiffed and Scottish deerhounds were brushed to show-level perfection.
Depending on the breed, coats can take between two to four hours to groom -- and hair spray is against the rules. Some owners, especially those who live in drier areas like Denver, feed their dogs fish oil capsules hidden in cheese to make the dog's coat soft and smooth.
Although the winner at Westminster does not receive any prize money, the prestige of a win at all levels is priceless.
A toy also won top dog at Westminster last year. Malachy, a Pekingese, took home the Best in Show title in 2012 -- the fourth time the breed took top prize and the 10th time for the toy group.
Sam, a 2-year-old Bullmastiff and a Westminster newbie, was riding high after winning best in breed earlier today. It was a bittersweet victory because his owner, Jean Robinson, died last June from a rare bile-duct cancer. There were cheers, hugs and tears in the crowd when Sam's name was announced.
"It's awesome. It's the best feeling in the world. We are going to Disney World," Janet Ekstrom, who co-owned the dog with Robinson, said after Sam won best in breed. "I know he had an angel on his shoulder today. I know she's watching and is so happy."