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Thousands of Pampered Pups Prepare for Westminster Dog Show

By Heather Holland | February 11, 2013 5:41pm | Updated on February 11, 2013 9:25pm

MIDTOWN — Several minutes into her blowout, Pilvi's golden mane was starting to show shine and volume, but it would take a good coat of hairspray to keep it in place, her owner said.

Lisa Saari, owner of the Finnish Spitz, had spent two days preparing Pilvi to look her best for the first day of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show on Monday afternoon.

She covered her pup's golden coat with a cloud of hairspray after spending half the morning blow-drying her hair.

"She had a full bath, and then we had to blow her out to try to fluff up her coat," Saari said. "The most important part is the dog's structure, and hair is a big part of that."

As the Westminster Kennel Club kicked off its 137th annual dog show on Monday, hundreds of breeders and owners gathered in the prep-room beforehand — equipped with blow dryers, nail clippers and plenty of hairspray — all in hopes of sculpting their pets into the next grand champion.

“On Saturday, he got a bath and got blown out,” said Katherine Meches, owner of an Australian Shepherd called Moose. “On Sunday, we trimmed his coat, and today we did some last-minute trimming, and put chalk on his legs to make them seem whiter and to build volume.”

This year, the show drew nearly 3,000 dog entries, including 187 different breeds.

While some breeds require trims and blowouts, others are less high-maintenance, breeders said.

“I gave him a bath last night, sort of spiffed him a little bit today, put him on a leash and off we went,” said Karen Dewey, owner of a Bloodhound called Garth. “There’s not much to it — we just have to wipe off the drool.”

Some of the four-legged participants seemed exhausted by mid-afternoon, but their owners said the pups had a great time.

“This is his first time at Westminster,” said Terri Clingerman, who was showing her Cardigan Welsh Corgi called Scout at the show. “He did great, and I think he really enjoyed himself. He probably needs a nap now."

For the first time this year, the Westminster show will take place in two different venues. In addition to Madison Square Garden, some events will take place at Pier 92/94, located at West 55th Street and 12th Avenue. The show runs through Tuesday.