PHOTOS: Thousands of dogs vie for Best in Show at Westminster

'King' the Wire Fox Terrier after winning Best in Show at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

A wire fox terrier won "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Tuesday, emerging as the top dog among nearly 3,000 barking, tail-wagging competitors.

The animal, named King, captured the most coveted prize at the two-day event at Madison Square Garden, besting challengers from all 50 U.S. states and 14 countries. The competition drew 2,800 dogs from 203 breeds and varieties.

"Tonight is ... I can't even describe it," said an emotional Gabriel Rangel, King's handler, on the floor of Madison Square Garden.

"After you win this magnificent show there's really nothing else to win. He should be running around in a field of grass," Rangel said moments after King won the terrier group and claimed the top trophy over finalists from five other groups.

King, who is 7 years old, became the 15th wire fox terrier to win the prestigious title with his handler, Rangel, of California, scoring his third win for Best in Show.

"Just overwhelming, happy. I'm so proud of this dog," Rangel told reporters when asked about King’s triumph.

"The judge is the most famous terrier man in the world," Rangel said. "And everybody in this country knows, we respect him, we love him. He taught so much to everybody...and it's like he's saying to you: You it!"

An English setter is prepared to compete at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Feb. 12, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

There were six finalist pedigree dogs competing instead of the usual seven, because the winner of the non-sporting canine group, a schipperke, was ruled ineligible before the "Best in Show" competition began.

Colton, a six-year-old member of the Belgian breed, was "excused" because of ownership eligibility requirements set by the American Kennel Club, competition officials said.

"These types of things happen at dog shows and the rules are such to maintain the integrity of the sport," they said in a statement.

That left six winners of the hounds, toys, herding, working, sporting and terrier categories to compete for "Best in Show".

Besides Colton, the four selected on Monday were a longhaired dachshund named Burns who won the hound group; a Havanese named Bono who topped the toy group and a bouvier des Flandres named Baby Lars who led the herding group.

Judges picked the remaining three finalists on Tuesday before the main event. A Sussex spaniel named "Bean" won the sporting group, a boxer called "Wilma" clinched the working group and a wire named "King" won the terrier group.

The Westminster Kennel Club's show, in its 143rd year, is the second oldest U.S. sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby horse race.

Bacon, an Australian terrier, competes with the terrier group at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Feb. 12, 2019, in New York.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Teddy the Puli at the AKC Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
An Afghan Hound waits in the benching area during the Daytime Session in the Breed Judging across the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups at the 143rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Pier 92/94 in New York City on Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
King, the wire hair fox terrier, poses after winning "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club 143rd Annual Dog Show in Madison Square Garden in New York on Feb. 12, 2019. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
A Komondorok runs with their handler in the Working Group judging before the "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club 143rd Annual Dog Show in Madison Square Garden in New York Feb. 12, 2019. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
Gringo the Bulldog looks on during Breed Judging at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Piers 92/94 on Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


Danny the Chow poses for a photo during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Piers 92/94 on Feb. 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


"Walmar-Solo's OMG," a long-haired dachshund, won first in the hound group at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)
Romeo, a Neapolitan mastiff, rests during the AKC Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Don Smith reacts as Cap'n Crunch the Great Dane yawns during the Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Sherry Boldt stands with her bullmastiff Marshall on the AKC Meet the Breeds day ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Devo, a boxer, sits with a person in a dog costume in the boxer breed booth during the AKC Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Talos, a rottweiler, is photographed at the Rottapalooza booth during the AKC Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
A dog competes in the Masters Agility Championship during the AKC and Westminster Kennel Club Meet and Compete event in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Nala, a Chinese shar-pei, is greeted during the AKC Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
A dog competes in the Masters Agility Championship during the AKC and Westminster Kennel Club Meet and Compete event in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Connor, a Yorkshire terrier breed, during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Patrice, a bull terrier, is held during the Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
A woman compares her hand with the paws of Kallen, a Great Dane, during the Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Socks are seen for sale at the Meet the Breeds event ahead of the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
A toy fox terrier breed stands during judging at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
A Bergamasco shepherd breed is judged during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Couvee, a keeshond breed, is groomed during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Questa, a Tibetan terrier breed, sits during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Tracer, a beagle breed, sits during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Bro, a Rhodesian ridgeback breed, lies next to a ribbon during the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Hound group judge Patricia Craige Trotter examines teeth at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)
Toy group judge Sharon Newcomb examines Yorkshire terrier "Karma's Promise Key-Per" during the toy group judging at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)
Dogs wait with their handlers in the backstage area of Madison Square Garden at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog show in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)
Herding group judge Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine examines a corgi at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)
A borzoi and trainer compete during the herding group judging at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)
A judge examines "Oeste's in the Name of Love," a Havanese who won the toy group at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 11, 2019. (Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)


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