More than 25,000 canine enthusiasts will come to Madison Square Garden for two days to see 2,500 dogs from 179 breeds. But the parade of pooches has many New York City businesses seeing only one thing: green.
The 135th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show is big business for hotels, restaurants and a variety of specialty pet services. There is everything from doggie treadmills and spas to pet taxis and psychics who charge $1 a minute.
The Hotel Pennsylvania across the street from the Garden goes to the dogs this time every year, catering to canines from snout to tail. The conference room is transformed into a "Paw Mall" and a "S'Paw."
The mall has gifts and products from more than a dozen vendors for both owners and their faithful companions. The spa is home to bathing and grooming facilities, a salon, an exercise area, a masseuse and even his and her bathrooms.
Hotel head of marketing Jerry Grymek also undergoes a transformation to become the canine concierge in charge of "Pooch Relations."
"We welcome them with open paws," Grymek said. "When we have the dog show, we go all out."
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Grymek says the hotel has fulfilled some odd requests for man's best friend during the years, including literally rolling out the red carpet and even picking up McDonald's, but the hotel has never had any dog-related problems.
"These are show dogs through and through," Grymek said. "They are the best of the best and on their best behavior."
The dogs are also the best for business. The hotel is sold out for the show this year and has 1,000 four-legged guests. Each dog owner pays an additional $50 per night and the vendors who are stationed in the conference room to care for and pamper the animals pay a fee to set up shop.
The Westminster Dog Show Is Big Business
Other hotels might not have the conference room accoutrements, but they do charge additional fees to house dogs. The New Yorker charges $25 per night, the Carlton assesses a $50 pet cleanup fee and the Alex Hotel has a one time charge of $250.
Vegas oddsmakers are also getting in on the action. The Smooth Fox Terrier is the favorite at 6 to 1, followed by a Pekingese at 7 to 1. The Fox Terrier has won more than any other breed, while the perennial underdogs continue to be U.S. favorites. Golden Retrievers and Labradors have never won best in show.
The Labs and Goldens have even more competition this year because six new breeds have been added in the show ring. And the world will find out Tuesday night which dog and owner get to cash in on their victory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.