America's best behaved, most carefully coiffed dogs hit the catwalk Monday at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.
A total of 2,626 four-legged beauties, representing 179 breeds, were chasing the elusive Best in Show title to be decided late Tuesday.
Madison Square Garden, the famous Manhattan arena, filled with everything from Dalmatians to Toy Fox Terriers, all vying to take the crown won last year by Sadie, a long-haired black Scottish terrier.
Winning brings instant celebrity status to the champion dog, with a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, appearances on morning television shows and in Sadie's case, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
New breeds allowed to join this year include the ferocious looking Cane Corso, originally bred on Italian farms, the lion-like Leonberger, a speedy hunting dog called the Bluetick Coonhound, and the Icelandic Sheepdog, a breed that first spread with Viking settlers.
Organizers claim the competition is the second oldest US sporting event, after the Kentucky Derby horse race.
Whether the event is a canine fashion show or a sporting event might be debated, but its huge popularity is not, with USA Network and NBC providing live coverage at peak hours.