westminster kennel club masters agility competition

The doggos of the Masters Agility Competition at Westminster aren't just good-looking — they've got skills, too.

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Gabby the Papillon was the final competitor in the tiniest category of the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster. But the saying “size isn’t everything” was ever more true:

And Gabby is just the first of the reasons why our favorite Westminster Kennel Club event is the agility competition. Being judged Best in Show is all about winning the genetic lottery, but the agility competition brings out something more. You can’t manage this kind of showmanship when a judge is sticking her fingers in your mouth to look at your teeth:

Instead of competing in categories by breed, agility dogs compete based on size. They’re divided into classes — 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 inches — with only the height of the obstacles adjusted. 

What began at the start of Westminster Weekend in New York with 330 of the top dogs from around the country was narrowed down to five winners, with all the action airing on Fox Sports. Step aside, humans!

This year’s big winner was Verb the Border Collie, who won the 20-inch category and was fastest overall with a time of 32.05 seconds, with handler Perry DeWitt. Just try to keep up with this crazy blur of fur:

And while yes, both Verb and Gabby are incredibly impressive, and the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster is a contest of athleticism, we think there's room for one more category: charm.

This year’s big winner in the proposed category is Winky the Bichon Frise, who didn’t break any speed records sashaying around the course, but came in first for showmanship. Look at him pausing on top of the obstacles to acknowledge his adoring public!

So save the date for next year’s Westminster weekend of events on Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan, including a Meet the Breeds session that invites the public to pet all of the good boys and girls hoping for a spot in the big show, as well as your new favorite sporting event, the Masters Agility Championship.

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