NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A record 2,700 dogs will compete for the title of Best in Show at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday and Tuesday, and some have overcome great challenges to get there.

Hurricane Sandy couldn’t keep Keaton, a Tibetan Terrier, from having his day.

“There are dog shows and then there’s Westminster,” owner Lois Cohen Goldstein of Freeport, Long Island told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

Goldstein lost the entire first floor of her home.

“We’re still not back. We’re still living in a motel,” she said. But Keaton couldn’t come, so the dog was sent to a handler in Maryland.

This year’s show will also feature a Bernese Mountain Dog named Juliet, who was part of the canine therapy team in Newtown, Conn.

“I wanted to do something. I asked my parents. When I found out, we went there and they said that they would love to have a therapy dog there,” said eighth grader Danielle Meyers of Southbury, Conn.

She’ll be showing the dog with her twin sister Rachel.

“It’s very exciting and very nerve-wracking at the same time,” she said.

The Tri-State Area sends more dogs to the competition than any other region. But dog owners and handlers from all over are getting their pooches ready to strut and show off to the judges.

“Westminster is the Kentucky Derby of dog shows. It is the best show in town and all of New York is here to adore them,” dog owner Cheryl Schafer from Syracuse told CBS 2’s Elise Finch.

For the first time, the Westminster Kennel Club will be staging its world-famous dog show at two venues.
West Side Piers 92 and 94 by day and Madison Square Garden at night.

“We could make the show a little bit larger. We have a little bit more space here than we had before so we have 2,721 dogs,” Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show chairman Tom Bradley told Finch.

Two new breeds are competing for the first time this year — Russell Terriers and Treeing Walker Coonhounds.

“I’m like any other young person watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on TV for years and to finally get here is a total honor,” said Tricia Snedegar of Vermontville, Mich.

Snedegar said her coonhounds require very little primping.

Hundreds of people lined up to see, pet and take pictures with the competitors.

“Just seeing all the dogs and stuff and seeing who’s going to go to the big dog show,” 8-year-old Lily Zegers from Washington, D.C. told CBS 2’s Finch.

Even handlers whose dogs aren’t moving on to the next round said this is an amazing experience.

“It went really good, he showed like a dream,” handler Sharon Ayers of Nova Scotia said.

Best in Show will be named Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Which breed are you hoping will be named Best In Show? Sound off in the comments section below…

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