No shortage of pedigree in top U.S. dog show

Thu Feb 5, 2009 8:49pm EST
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By Walker Simon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top dogs arrive in New York next week to compete in one of the world's most prestigious dog shows and, joining them for the first time, is a breed known for having the biggest head in the canine world.

Some 2,522 dogs, including the new breed, Dogue de Bordeaux, are competing this year in the Westminster Kennel Club show, which starts on Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Dogue, which will be 170th breed in the competition, is characterized by its heavy, broad wrinkled head and stocky, athletic build. The head is the largest of any dog, according to the Kennel Club.

The breed is also known as a French Mastiff.

At a press preview on Thursday, competing Dogues -- Brand T Beefcake and Darco Van de Petehoek -- showed off for photographers and reporters.

The owners said each dog tipped the scales at 145 pounds (65 kg).

Beefcake's owners, Vickie and Paul Saez, of Kendall, Florida, said they paid $2,000 for the use of a particular dog to sire Beefcake.

With the economic downturn, however, the price for such dogs has dropped, they said. One breeder's Dogue pups recently sold for $1,500 each, half of what they cost three years ago.   Continued...