There was no end of intrigue at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year.
Rumor, the German shepherd who narrowly lost at last year’s show, had come close to simply hanging up her leash and retiring. Instead, she stormed back to win her category again this year — and then, to top it all off, beat out more than 2,800 dogs to take Best in Show on Tuesday, as well.
The triumph makes her only the second German shepherd to win the top prize in Westminster’s 141-year history. Considering Westminster is the second-longest continuously running sporting event in the U.S. — second only to the Kentucky Derby — the redemptive win for the 5 1/2-year-old female is no mean feat.
Not only that, but as NPR’s Merrit Kennedy noted earlier this month, Westminster also played host to another rarity at this year’s dog show: cats. The featured felines shared a showcase with the dogs called Meet & Compete.
Still, whatever words we can offer on the event seem a little beside the point. The dogs — big and small, noble and loony — are the main event.
So, without further throat-clearing, here’s what you came for: A few of our very favorite images from the competition.