179 top pups pause to pose for portraits at Westminster

Two days. 24 hours.

That's how long it took New York Times photographer (and dog lover) Fred Conrad to shoot 179 breeds of dogs - all of them champions competing at the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.

See Conrad's fabulous portraits (plus some doggie audio, and wonderful behind the scenes video) here.

The five-year-old Scottish deerhound, Hickory, beat out six other contenders to win the coveted "best in show" honor last night. Among the champions in their group that competed in the finals against Hickory was the bearded collie. Mister Baggins, who was raised in South Jersey. Sue Ross, of Pitts Grove, Salem County, raised him from a puppy.

Hickory, of Warrenton, Va., is the first deerhound to win the top prize in the competition since it was founded 135 years ago. And she was a longshot among the 2,600 dogs vying for the silver bowl. So said Vegas odds-maker Johnny Avello. He gave the Scottish deerhound 60-to-1 odds to win.

The Scottish deerhound breed dates to the 16th century, when it was used for pursuing and killing deer, and could be owned by “no one of rank lower than an earl,” according to the American Kennel Club website.

 Photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters