A Special Glimpse Behind the Scenes of the 2024 Westminster Dog Show

On Tuesday night, a three-year-old black miniature poodle from Houston, Texas, named Sage was crowned best in show at the 148th Westminster Dog Show, beating the odds—and more than 2,500 canine competitors—for the coveted title.

The 2024 Westminster Dog Show took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens, where dogs of every size, shape, and historical breeding context gathered to determine America’s Next Top Dog. Over two nights of best-in-breed competitions featuring 200 breeds across seven groups, there was a radiant Afghan Hound with blonde hair more beautiful than any human’s, and tiny toys that looked like figures from a child’s imagination. There was a drooling Bernese Mountain dog named Amy whose fur swung from side to side as she walked, and a curly-haired Lakeland Terrier that stood worried over his handler after he fell down. Each and every dog seemed to be riding high on the energy of the crowd and the sound of their applause.

Our champion, Sage, ran away with the non-sporting group on Monday, and returned the next night to face off against the six other breed-group winners: Mercedes the German shepherd (herding group), Comet the Shih Tzu (toy group), Louis the Afghan hound (hound group), Micah the black cocker spaniel (sporting group), Monty the giant schnauzer (working group), and Frankie the colored bull terrier (terrier group). Judge Rosalind Kramer, dressed in a floor-length blue gown covered in floral appliqué, had a near-impossible decision to make as she watched the dogs trot up and back in a way specific to their breed. “This is the most incredible lineup of dogs. It’s absolutely glorious,” she said. “I’d like to thank all of the breeders, the handlers, the owners, for their dedication to this sport. It’s because of you that we are here.”