In four-legged Olympics this week, mutts were finally given the chance to vie for doggie glory. The organizers of the premier Westminster Kennel Club dog show, held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, reversed a tradition in place since at least 1884 and finally allowed mixed breeds to compete. Lest you think the move is too progressive, mutts were welcomed only into the agility trial this year, with the prestigious Best in Show award reserved for purebreds. (This week, that award went to Sky, a 5-year-old wire fox terrier, who bested about 3,000 of her competitors.)
Politely called “All-American” dogs, the mutts generally held their own in a contest where they’re judged on accuracy and speed as they navigate various obstacles off-leash. Roo!, a husky mix hailing from San Francisco, won the agility contest for the 24-inch category, and also took home the trophy for best mixed-breed dog. Panda took fourth in the 20-inch category. The underdogs were unable to seize the gold, however, with purebred border collie Kelso winning the overall agility prize.
The Kennel Club’s policy reversal is likely due to growing pressure from animal rights activists, who have long contended that dog breeding is unethical.